Monday, September 13, 2004
Gnawing Away At That 9.8
Last night I did need the tent, but not for rain. Some did fall, but the wind was the dominate aggressor last night. Being in the tent was almost as exhausting as being in the wind. My tent buckled and swayed all night.
When I say my tent, what I really have is the rain fly from a Hilleberg Atko. It can be set up without the tent part, which I'm not even carrying. Although it's a bit heavy, it is a 4-season structure I'm very comfortable in. So, I didn't worry about the buckling and swaying. The tent was doing what it was supposed to do. I didn't help that I had the door open though. A little shift of the wind would make my tent a wind sock for a moment.
Having the door open was a real treat. There are no bugs, and the layout is such that most of the rain falls on bare ground, so it's ideal for me. When I can't sleep out, at least I can experience some of what's going on outside.
I was exposed and high all morning while hiking, and the wind was unrelenting, gusting and bellowing. At moments I would lose my balance from the force of the wind on me and my pack.
I didn't start hearing thunder until late morning. It rained and hailed a few times during the course of the day, but it never amounted to much.
I walked on or near the Divide most of the day, with most views opening to the east. The light was good in the morning, but the rest of the day suffered from flat greyness.
I'm camped in the deep, dark forest tonight. Somewhere to the west is a vicious cell of lightning and thunder. It has been booming, then, as darkness fell, flashing and booming, for quite a while. I'm in my tent, so I'm prepared if it or its cousin come my way.
I'd hoped to get to Buffalo Pass (CO4) by lunch today, but my energy for the climbs was not there. Still, I managed to meet my goal for the day, which was to chip away at the 9.8 mile stretch leading to the final stretch to get to Rabbit Ears Pass (CO5), the gateway to Steamboat Springs.
I have about 10 miles from where I'm camped to the point I can hitch, which isn't actually the pass as far as I can tell from the notes on the map. Note I said hitch. I'm in Colorado! Hitching with thumb!
I'm going to try to get my foot x-rayed in Steamboat, then make a decision.
Tomorrow will be a month since I broke it. Even through the medication, I get occasional searing pain, which isn't good. I can be tough, but I'm not going to be stupid. If it's not healing, I should know.
Steamboat holds another surprise, which I won't tell you about until tomorrow.
Oh, I saw two 'new' animals today. One was a weasel/ferret/mink thing. It was way up high, like above 11,000', it had a light brown body with a black patch at the end of its tail. It was long and skinny, and its tail was about 1/3 of it's length. It was cute.
The second was in a pond. I think it was a brine shrimp, which I've seen in the Sierra. It was about 3/4" long, clear, with an undulating body, and a pointed tail. I actually saw two or three of these guys.
Four hikers, four horses, and one motorcycle were the extent of human exposure.