Miles hiked 22-23
We slept in a bit this morning to recover from the previous nights bad sleeping situation. While I was off having my AM-BM my pack fell over and when I came back a large puddle greeted me. The bite valve for my hydra pack had sheared off and all the water had pumped out. I was able to remove the hose so I can still haul the 3L if carries but I have no way of sipping off it as a hike.
We headed for the cow tanks we had a little trouble finding them in the dark but finally managed. The water looked kind of gross but as we filled our bottles it looked clear and ok. I treated 6 L and carried 2 as spares in case I needed more. Once loaded up we headed down the road alternate we had been told was an option from previous hikers.
Now today is Friday so we had grand visions of cars and weekend campers coming by and offering us sodas and treats…7 cars passed us today and only 1 stopped to say hi and no treats were offered despite our best attempts at yogiing. So we trudged on grinding away. I was able to get a cell signal and talk with Suzy who was more than helpful in getting some much needed items in the mail to us so they would arrive in time at McDermitt for us. It was nice to hear her voice and catch up, I owe here big when I get home for always being the support person on the other end of these hikes.
The day found us mostly trudging along looking for snakes and dreaming of shade, cold sodas, and the warm springs we were aiming for. As we approached the final leg of the road to start our descent down the canyon we saw a huge camp set up with an RV, gigantic tent, and horse trailer, plus trees. We laid plans to ask to buy sodas and yogi food but when we arrived no one was around so we carried on to the trees down below.
I can’t tell you how wonderful it was to sit in the shade of a juniper stand and let the breeze blow on us. We had walked over 45 miles with not a stitch of shade and it’s been In the high 90’s, for a short fat dago like me that’s a bit too much in the hot side. As we started down toward three forks the sky got dark with clouds and the wind picked up. A nice change for the afternoon.
As we got to the river there was a great pit toilet and sign talking about how the area we are in was designated an wild and scenic river in 1984, this year is the 50th anniversary of both the wild and scenic river act and the national trails system act so it’s pretty cool to be on a trail and also a river at the same time.
We found our way across the river and started up river along the shore through the canyon lands. The grass and brush were y’all and the dry nettles were like walking through barbwire. We finally went up hill and found an old toad as we walked down it across the way we could see some awesome waterfalls and then we found it the warm spring pool on the side of the hill. We dropped our packs and jumped on in the bath temp water. Clothes and all we laid around for a hour enjoying the warm water and the removal of the slate and dust from our bodies and our clothes.
As time wore on and our hands got more and more pruned, we lamented having to get out of the warm pool. Eventually our stomachs won the battle and we headed out of the water changed into dry clothes and then headed down and across the Owyhee to a sandy beach for the night.
Tomorrow we take on what most have called the most challenging part of this hike the West Little Owyhee River canyon. It’s about 8-9 miles until our first option to bail out of the canyon for an overland rim walk, so we’ll see how it goes and play it by ear.