Holy hell who threw the switch on the weather? Yesterday was mostly cloudy and cool but my god this morning was downright frigid. When I woke up it was well below freezing so much I fact that our water bladders and bottles had frozen. Luckily we all slept with our filters and batteries so not all was lost.
We laid un our quilts, each of us our own cocoon of warm air and comfort. We looked like a Katabatic Gear commercial since all 3 of us use their quilts. I made hot water for coffee and waked Salty up with some hot coffee since she is stoveless. Finally, as the sun lighted the sky we started hiking.
The day was pretty easy to start even if it was cold, we mainly followed an old dirt road passed a few springs and aspen groves. We enjoyed the high vantage point and then we dived way down to the next valley so we could get over the mountains in front of us. We had to leave the road and hike cross country along a series of drainages. It was fun walking through the waist-high grass at times. The tumbleweeds had all been trapped in the bends if the creek and were tall dried piles, a pretty cool sight.
We came to the junction of two drainages and Salty led the way up to windy pass the high point for the day. We all made it and stopped for a snack. We followed a series of dirt roads from high up the pass down to the valley below. We weren’t sure if we would need to go to Denio NV today for water or if the new alternate we are heading on to fields would have water.
We heard from Renee who is the ED if the trail and she said we shouldn’t count on any water in the alternate. We are the first to do it this time of year so we decided we should get the sure thing and walk the extra mile down the road to the Denio library where we could use a spigot. We dreamed of a gas station or small store with snacks but were treated instead to empty streets and a library.
We had already gone 27 miles, it was 5 pm and we were whipped. We sat on the nice bench in front, had a snack, chewed some basil from their planter box out front, ditched our trash in the dumpster and filled our bottles.
As we sat there a blue minivan pulled up as we were closing up to leave. He was an old cowboy and asked us ,”what are you all doing? He said had gotten a call that people were hanging out in front of the library and his wife was the Librarian, but out of town.
We explained that we were hiking the ODT and had only come to town for water. He asked where we were going, only to scoff at our plans. “It’s too steep they don’t even run cows up there anymore it’s so overgrown”. After a few more minutes we shouldered our packs and he said, “I’m not trying to run you off…”
We left town feeling a little dejected and started up past the cemetery to our next goal the Denio Creek alternate. As we crested the first large hill the sun set below the horizon, so we dropped our packs on a small terraced area and made camp for the night.