We are just over a week removed from walking out of the Bridger, and it already feels an eternity ago. They say you don’t remember pain, and oxygen deprivation while laboring up the steep grade from Lonesome Lake to Jackass Pass is already fading from memory. A word of warning to the easily bored: in another week or 10 days a very, very long day-by-day recount along with photos of the trip will be posted. It won’t be for the faint of heart. Ellen and Reid will see it first, but you’ll be a close second.
August 3, 2015
Ellen/Reid: Reid, at this point exactly one week ago we didn’t know 80+ MPH winds awaited us in a few hours at the top of Hailey Pass. Great pic of you trying to remain upright. That was unbelievable. You got through all the hiking more than pretty well, and far better than me in many spots (i.e. the slog from Lonesome Lake up to Jackass Pass seemed straight skyward. The steep uphill portions were just excruciating). You and Rebecca each have a strong set of wheels. We just couldn’t keep up the pace. What a day, and a trip, it all was. Gear is strewn about the living room floor; the tents and sleeping bag and dissembled pump are airing out. It’ll be tough to stow all that gear. What was on the horizon for so long is now slipping away in the rearview mirror. I am really sorry about the food, in particular the weak, anemic dinners. There just wasn’t enough planning put into those. There was no variety, no taste, no nothing. It was pathetic. No wonder you went your own way to buy a few, shall we say, tastier entrees than the tepid rice and Indian spices put forth day after day. The breakfasts and lunches would rate a ‘B’ but the dinners would scarcely earn a ‘D.’ That’s how bad those supposed meals were. If we hadn’t caught trout most nights, we wouldn’t have had anything remotely flavorful, let alone enough protein.
As for the trout, those were some of the healthiest brookies in memory. Really filled out and big. You caught some awfully nice ones in the 10-11-12” range. Those are big for the mountains. It was nice to see Vince and Rebecca haul in their first-ever fish. Rebecca has the bug for it and it wouldn’t take long for her to be an accomplished fly caster. She never needed prompting to come to the lake or stream to commandeer the fly rod. I’m writing up an extensive log of it and will post it to my letter blog sometime in the next week or so. The intent was to write on the trail but there either wasn’t enough time or I simply ran out of gas most evenings. Our breaks during the day weren’t really conducive to writing. But in hindsight there should have been some cursory notes taken. A fair amount of it was written on the plane home so that felt good. I’m going from memory as I gaze at our point-to-point camps on the topo map. Hopefully it will all come together and the story will appear relatively lucid. I don’t know how many more of those forty-ish mile jaunts I have left in me. Except for the walk up from Lonesome, I handled it pretty well but these last couple of days at home have just been exhausting. I slept until the unheard of hour of 8:30 Sunday morning and couldn’t even make it to church. My thinking is that you don’t feel it so much on the trek itself because your focus is on the here and the now and there’s no time to really be dragging.
There are things to do and you’re hell-bent on doing them. So the actual crash comes days later. As an alternative it would be fun to hike the first 12 miles up to Mae’s Lake and set a base came there. There are tons of offshoot streams and smaller peaks – such as the back side of the Cirque – to explore on day trips. Reid, that would be an ideal entry point for Liz, and Ellen, that would suit Emma just fine when she’s 5-6 years older. There were other children up there. Greeting me when I logged on my work computer were 311 emails of assorted importance. It was rough to wade through them all to separate the wheat from the chaff. Lots and lots of chaff. Those are the easiest to dispatch but the remainder will each require an answer. Betsy and I will have lunch next Wednesday to catch up. It’s been several months since we’re seen each other so it will be good to catch up. Rest assured most of it will be about you two, Emma and her sister Georgia. Love, Dad