Hart mountain refuge with aspens aglow in fall colors

Waking in a warm building was such a treat and having a flush toilet to use instead of digging a hole was just pure luxury this morning.  We all packed up pretty quick it’s much easier to get going when the temp isn’t at freezing.

We hit the road and headed for the hot springs just as the sky lightened to day we arrived to a wonderful sight.  A natural hot spring with some stone walls around it to block the wind.  In we all went for a much needed bath, and for the next 30-40 minutes we soaked in the warm water until we were all pruned up and needed to move on.  The worst part was having to get out into the cold morning air all wet, but we all quickly threw on many layers could to trap the warmth from the soak and then set off hiking while snacking on our breakfast.

Hart Mountain Hot Spring

The morning was very pleasant we walked on nice dirt roads through the Hart Mountain refuge and saw tons of mule deer and prong horns.  As the we climbed deeper into the refuge we were treated to aspen groves in fall colors and some old homesteads along the way.  The weather stayed cool and we had a gentle breeze at our backs, an ideal fall day, the kind of weather that makes you want to pull on a hooded sweatshirt and head to a keg party with a bonfire on a Friday night.

Getting the water for the rest of the way to Plush

As lunch approached we reached an old homestead and like the previous owners we sat in the shade of the trees and enjoyed lunch and a much-needed rest.  The grass out in the horizon was like a scene from the song America the Beautiful and a more ideal spot of frontier life could not be imagined.  After lunch we set off again, however, the road had ended and for 3 miles we bushwhacked through tall grass sometimes well over my head.  It was a fun and new experience of cross-country terrain and we took it in stride.  We had to find our way up and over a large butte with steep rocky cliffs, but with some scouting, we found places to climb up the wall and then climbed down on the backside.

The old homestead a perfect lunch spot

We rejoined a road and that carried us up and over Fisher Canyon.  As we turned to descend down the canyon we saw in front of us a huge lake right here in the desert.  Hart Lake is a massive lake and as we arrived at it we soon found another bushwhack was in our future.  This one, however, was evil and required walking through numerous poky plants and scratchy bushes taller than the 3 of us.  As the sun was setting we stepped into a large grove of cottonwood trees and it felt creepy.  It reminded me of the Blair Witch Project, so we pushed through until we finally found the next primitive road that will take us to the town of Plush.

All smiles as we push through the tall grass

Salty picking her way down the rocky slopes of the butte

A poop with a view

We walked a few 100 yards and since it was dark we decided it was time to make camp and get ready to play the hiking game again in the morning.  My foot is killing me these days way more than the past week, in fact, it has woken me up the past few nights.  Just 10 more days is all I keep telling myself, gut it out pain is only temporary.

Sunset before the bushwhacking

Postscript, at 11:30 pm last night after two Tylenol pm and magnesium I still awoke in withering pain because of my foot.  I had to wrap it, then unwrap it, massage it, take a painkiller and then wait for it to kick in.