Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Day 15: Snow Lake to Highway 12 (Reserve)

Water. We woke up thinking about water. We thought about water as we hiked. We hesitated by Dutchman Springs, now little more than a muddy waterhole. But, realizing there would be a muddy cow pond later in the day if our second water cache didn't work out, we hiked on. A mile later we were relieved to find that our carefully stashed water was still there.

We spent the morning cruising along well established trail through the forest. Herds of elk, including a small group of males with towering antlers, grazed by the trail. Their loud cries filled the air whenever we approached. Then they thundered deeper into the woods. 

And then it all ended. Our lovely, well maintained trail abruptly ended in the middle of the forest. We pulled out the GPS to navigate our way along the unsigned route, but quickly put it away when it began to pour. 

We squished along in the woods for an hour or so, eventually connecting to better trail just as the storm slowed down. Thick mud clung to our shoes, creating tall platforms. 

We followed the trail down to the drier golden hills until we reached Highway 12. We will spend the night in the tiny town of Reserve, and return to the trail tomorrow. 

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