Sunday, August 14, 2005

Week 1, Day 2: Whitefish Creek

August 14th, 2005
Destination: Unknown Tributary, Whitefish Creek
Distance: 10.4 miles
Climbed: 1,100 ft.
Descended: 500 ft

We woke up and made hot water for breakfast before other people were stirring. We could tell it was going to be a very warm day, so we broke down the tent and we left our site at 7:30am. We headed up to the trailhead and made our way up the valley next to the bubbling and very pleasant Trapper Creek. …And we went up and up and up until the trail veered away from the creek and into higher country. We finally reached the top of our climb and traversed to Diamond View Lake. Given our relative lack of conditioning, the heat of the day, and the reality of years of sedentary behavior, we were nearly exhausted as we stopped for lunch at the lake with its beautiful view of Diamond Peak.

After catching our breath, we continued on down the trail. Although we dropped in elevation these last few miles, the lush hemlock and fir forest of the Trapper Creek drainage gave way to more pines as we descended into the Whitefish Creek basin. Although it shows as a permanent stream on the map, Whitefish Creek was dry for most of its length. We were also introduced to the "Lodgepole Desert." The area we hiked through had scattered Lodgepole pines that were spindly and provided little shade. The ground cover was sparse as well.

We also encountered another new feature as we hiked this side of the hill; horse ruts...dusty, deep, and dry horse ruts filled the air with minerals, grit, and particalized horse manure. We were soon covered with a layer of tan as the day grew much hotter. We both descended down the hill and into a state of heat exhaustion as we marched along. A “reliable” tributary to the Whitefish was to be our last stop for the day. When we reached the little stream, it was a slow moving trickle which the horses stomped into a mud hole, but we were done for the day so hiked about 100 yards on and stopped.

We dropped our packs and learned about one of the differences between Ladybug and I. The flies went after me and the mosquitoes went after Ladybug. I helped get out the mosquito repellent (hereafter known as DEET, an abbreviation for the active ingredient) to provide her with some relief. We were both suffering from the heat exhaustion, so setting up camp was slow and arduous. It was akin to trying to set up a tent and cook dinner while having the flu.

Eventually, we fed ourselves and I was able to refill our water supply and put our new Potable Aqua 2 step Iodine treatment to the test. Most people don’t like to use iodine tablets to purify water because it tastes like, well, s**t. However, our setup has a new second step that is to be performed after the water is purified (30 minutes after initial treatment). This involves dropping a second set of pills into the water to nullify the bad test. It worked like a charm. Ironically, the magic ingredient is ascorbic acid, or Vitamin C. Good call!

As soon as possible, we dragged ourselves into the tent and felt our bodies collapse into the sleeping bags. Ladybug had a Thermarest and I had a foam pad for cushioning, but it still felt like we were trying to burrow a hole into the grounds with our hips and lower back. Eventually sleep came on.


DewKid said...

Don, it looks as though your right arm is a single pointy bone gesturing towards the lake. Freaaaky!

Ah, ThermaRest. I haven't used one of those in a long time. Definitely more comfortable than the cold hard ground!

Don Snabulus said...

so THAT's why my fingers felt so cold that day.