A quick note regarding the next few weeks of blog posts. As we were traveling along the ODT we had very limited and poor wifi in our brief stops in town as a result I was not able to uplaod new posts while hiking after McDermitt. I am going to release each day indisvuadlally over the next few weeks so I hope you will all enjoy the hike we had.
We did finish the hike on Sunday at 2pm, it was one of the greatest and most cahllenging hikes I have ever done. I alo could not be happier to have shared this trail with two amazing hiking oartners who were strong, stoic and always quick with a joke when things got tough. Anyway thanks again for following along!
Days 9 & 10
Miles hiked 27 & 22
Dusty is the best way to describe day 9, we had an alpine start at 4am because we had received a text the night before from my boss and friend Ron that he was going to meet us at Anderson’s crossings that day which was 27 miles away. We hiked strong in the dark dreaming of cold sodas and real food in the middle of the desert.
As the sun came up I stopped for the old daily constitutional and as I returned to trail I checked to see if I had a cell signal, the crushing text was from Ron he tried to make it to Anderson’s Crossing but the roads and or lack of roads made it too hard so he wouldn’t meet us. I told the girls and we were crushed. A little of the speed was taken from our stride.
We hiked on and about an hour later Ron texted us and said I’m here with his lat and long #’s we plugged them into our Gaia app and saw he had made it to Anderson’s Crossings just 15 miles away. We were stoked! So we strapped On our packs and poured on the gas to get there. We decided we would stop early and camp with Ron, so we declared it Sunday Funday and celebrated with some music from my iPhone as we rolled down the lonely road, caught a buzz from some legal items in our state and enjoyed the hell out of our Sunday.
Then the dust started, for 8 miles we walked a road that had been trampled by cows, oh did I not tell you that cows are the only company we see besides the pronghorn, mule deer, jackrabbits, rattlesnakes, and various other reptiles. Anyway, the dust was at least 4” deep and sometimes deeper. It was fine alkali powder like talcum powder and boy did it get dusty after 35 minutes we had to stop and empty our shoes, then we went cowboy style and donned bandanas over our faces like stagecoach robbers and carried on.
A few miles later we came upon a dead cow and a coyote eating away in it, circle of life in these parts. The cow was pretty old and haggard but the weather had been so hot I’m sure the coyote was happy for the meal.
Finally a few miles later as the day wore on, we crossed a gate and the dust stopped but still no Ron. We kept on walking dreaming of cold beverages and shade….we have had little to no shade for most of the hike so far, only small shrub-like sage bushes and our umbrellas. Finally, we saw it off in the distance, a blue Sprinter Van on the canyon rim with an awning out.
We made our way quickly to the site and were greeted by Ron’s smiling face. Being a fellow thru-hiker he knew exactly what we needed, camp chairs, a cooler full of cold beer and sodas, potato salad and giant burgers on the grill. It was heaven on earth for us. We sat around all evening sharing stories of our hikes and listening to Ron tell us stories from his 1977 hike of the Appalachian Trail. It was the best treat we could have asked for and Ron and I agreed that we were more remote than either of us have been outside of Alaska. The Owyhee is a wild wonderful and sparse place.
The next morning we slept in until 5:45 then we had coffee, ate some bagels and cream cheese and then hit the trail. The day was good we started on a dirt road but then left for a lot of cross country. The landscape was a lot of volcanic rock and grass so we could never get a flat footstep or get in a rhythm. We made our miles in decent time though and found ourselves continually climbing up higher on the canyon rim.
We finally entered some canyon country where there was supposed to be a reliable running creek. Nope not so reliable, we searched up and downstream looking for water but there was known, we each had 3 L but that would be pushing it to make it to McDermitt. We sat in some cottonwood trees shade, ate lunch and then pushed on hoping to score some water further upstream. There were a lot of cows and pronghorns around so we knew water had to be somewhere. As we worked up the canyon we found a few puddles but most were trampled by cows and we’re stagnant pools of Pooh and mud water. Finally, we found one puddle that looked ok’ish. The water had a kerosene sheen to it that I scooped away as we filled up water bladders of its life-saving H2O, the color was meh’ but we took what we could get.
For the next couple of hours, we finished hiking cross country up the canyon until we hit some roads that led to town. We hoped for better water to switch out what we had, but alas it didn’t happen. We walked down the road and along the most stunning cliffs above town. Right before the final descent to town we found a flat spot and camped out, at 7 miles from town we had set ourselves for a perfect Nearo, hike in eat tons of food, and relax the rest of the day away.