A butterfly examines my glasses while I splash in a creek.

A comma butterfly examines my glasses while I splash in a creek.

My destination at the end of the trail was 18 miles from the trail head, so I spent most of my vacation hiking. Lucky for me, when I have a camera in my hand, there is never a dull moment. My journey began in my last post. Day two I woke beside the North Fork of the Trinity River, and continued my trek. I was deep in the forest at this point and had no panoramic views. Instead I got personal with the world beside the trail.

One thing I love about heading in to the higher elevations during the summer is that as one climbs, the season goes back in time. In other words, I walked into Spring in the mountains, when it was the middle of Summer in the valleys. The farther I walked, the more I was surrounded by wildflowers and insects very excited about the wildflowers.

I also found bushes loaded with berries – ripe near the beginning of the trail, but still green or not yet formed at the end of the trail. What a plethora of berries this time out. Gooseberries, thimbleberries, dewberries, and Oregon grape (didn’t eat those!) all tempting me along the trail.

Fat and succulent gooseberries, looking so much like a pie-to-be.

Fat and succulent gooseberries, looking so much like a pie-to-be.

With my experience in backpacking, I could safely estimate that my pack weighed close to 6.8 thousand pounds, so I was looking for excuses to stop walking. I found that wildflowers provide a legitimate reason to stop. I also incorporated some good stretching and balance exercises, when I’d crouch down for a better angle or place one toe on a rock, or lean down a slope, or climb up a slope…. because all of these activities are required for photography. ūüôā Every movement is more of a challenge when you’re loaded down with weight.

thimbleberry

thimbleberry

dewberries

dewberries

The heat continued, day after day, and all during the nights. It was too hot to eat, and thus prevented me from relieving the weight from my pack as I intended. Typically, all the hard work of a hike makes me ravenous, but not this time. I removed every factory-sealed airtight container of food and cached it along the trail under a pile of rocks {it was still there when I came back out, and I carried it all home with me!}.

butterfly

Arizona sister

moth

I couldn’t identify this one, can you?

Certainly I ate¬†when I could, and I gobbled the berries. Gotta keep the energy up! I’ve mentioned my taste for good food on the trail, and that is part of the reason why I had so much weight. I refuse to bring freeze-dried packets of food products. I had oranges, broccoli, and onions, and an avacado. Peets coffee, hard boiled eggs, and homemade cookies for breakfasts. Curry, soup, pasta and rice for meals. And wine for my evenings.

Nine miles from the trailhead¬†I came across the Jorstad Cabin. The place takes one back in time, to look at it. Click here for more photos and some information behind Willard Ormand Jorstad’s cabin. He built it by hand in the 1930s and apparently lived here till the 1980s mining for gold. He also constructed a huge stone oven on the property, that now has a large campfire pit in front of it and is obviously used often by hikers when campfires are legal in this wilderness.

Cabin built by Willard Ormand Jorstad out of Douglas Fir.

Cabin built by Willard Ormand Jorstad out of Douglas Fir.

I can't tell you how deeply this image pulls at my heart. The canning jars and rusted pots out in a ramshackle shed because the house is too small, are a mirror of my childhood in north Idaho with my mom.

I can’t tell you how deeply this image pulls at my heart. The canning jars and rusted pots out in a ramshackle shed because the house is too small, are a mirror of my childhood in north Idaho with my mom.

This handsome buck in velvet enjoys some grass at Pfeiffer Flat behind the cabin. In the West we call this a 2-point. I learned in the East he is called a 4-point.

This handsome buck in velvet enjoys some grass at Pfeiffer Flat behind the cabin. In the West we call him a 2-point. In the East he is called a 4-point.

This area used to be filled with gold miners. Their work is clearly evident in piles of tailings and overburden as tall as me and 100 yards long, left behind from years of placer mining. The workers created a network of steep, narrow channels to divert creeks and thus do the work of separating the gold. These channels remain gashed into the mountain beside the trail. I assume the miners used sluice boxes, which are long trays with small ridges or mesh across the bottom. As the rushing water carries rocks and minerals through the box, the heaviest particles drop out Рideally the gold Рand get caught in the riffles. As I hiked, I saw that rusted pipes and rare pieces of machinery still lay strewn about beneath the brambles.

That’s all I did that day: walked and thought and looked at stuff. Oh, and I played in the water a LOT! Carrying a 6.8 thousand-pound pack when it’s Hotter than Hades and dozens of¬†creek crossings with delicious clear pools filled with Brook Trout has only one possible conclusion: swimming.

Many creeks and photographs later, I found a shady spot beside an unnamed creek that dropped into Grizzly Creek, and set up camp for my second night. Many hours earlier and first thing that morning, two young guys who were scouting deer in preparation for hunting season came by as I drank my morning coffee. I had not seen another human being the rest of the day.

goldenrod in the sun

goldenrod in the sun

tiger lily

tiger lily

 

 

 

 

 

 

A skink sunbathes on my overturned water shoes.

A skink sunbathes on my overturned water shoes.

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