The day would turn out to be a tough one. It was only 6 miles, but we had to scale 2000 feet over the first 3.5-4 miles. Though, it was a beautiful day, the sun
brightly shining on us and the temperature hovering around 70 with no humidity. The group, consisting of Max, Charlie, Andy, Lily, and Jamie, did an awesome job, and it was really great to see how everyone chipped in and participated when it came to map checks, ensuring that we knew where we were and encouraging anyone who needed it. And, for the first time in a few hikes, the "Hangry" bug didn't rear his bulbous, ugly head. Probably a testament to the fact that we finally had a couple rest days and a few carb-heavy, portion-satisfying meals.
On the trip, I got to tell of the Real World experience to Jamie, which was a really fun way to pass the and took a solid hour. Still amazes me that my best friend was on 2 MTV Television shows, ridiculous as they were (he'll testify to that). Because I feel it pressing to give myself a shameless plug, if you want to see yours truly and his 2 seconds of MTV "fame", go to this link (http://www.mtv.com/videos/real-world-las-vegas-ep-10-whos-your-daddy/1663603/playlist.jhtml#series=2211&seriesId=35476&channelId=1
), fast forward to the 35:50 mark, and watch for 10 seconds. Hard to believe it was only 2 years ago that whole craziness began.
You can say one thing about the wilderness: hard work is rewarded. As the incline finally began to soften after 4 hours of consistent climbing, our eyes met the trail marker for Pierpont Pass and a panorama of gorgeous, snowcapped peaks. Standing on the flat, green saddle, we saw pockets of dense forest, untouched fields of green, and a wonderful skyline mixture of bright blue sky, fluffy white clouds, and dusty, craggy peaks. Wondrous and majestic. The 15 minute break found all of us in great spirits, enjoying the view and relishing in the fact that our climbing was done for the day.
The next 2 miles were easy and fast as we made our way into the Hidden Valley basin. Our X was in the middle of a vast plain, and we found it with little trouble. The hike took around 5 hours, which left us with a little free time, so I dug into my 1972 campaign book. Hunter S. Thompson is a great author.
In the group's estimation, the day was a roaring success, which I was very glad to hear given my leadership position. Just needed to keep working on my navigation skills. It can truly be said that a good group of people all focused on a common goal makes a leader's job very easy.
The first team that scouted camp found a ton of arrowheads and rocks used to make them. They also found what appeared to be a circular man-made Native American meeting place. Because of the arrowheads and the layout of the area, the general conclusion was that battles were probably fought in the area long, long ago between warring tribes or with the white man. We were sleeping and eating on old Native American stomping grounds! My excitement at that fact was also met with a passing wonder at whether or not we'd see a ghost that night. What better place for a ghost to exist, if ghosts exist at all, than on very old, untouched Native American gathering places and battle sites?
While my group made dinner, Zach, Emma, and I got together to make the RAD Plan for the next day. It turned out that one of the maps we needed for the next day got sent out on the re-ration. Fortunately, the ITeam had stopped in a town called Dubois on the bus ride out to the wilderness and picked up an overview map of the Shoshone National Forest. This meant we had some idea of the features in the area, but not a particularly detailed one. But, we made the best of it. Looked as if it would be a long and challenging day tomorrow. Food consumption: commence.
Dinner consisted of a couscous/quinoa mix, and I downed 2 of my 4 chocolate/coconut bars because they are just so tasty. After that, I was prepared to spend my remaining savings on a lifetime supply of the sugary treats.
As we were conducting our nightly meeting, about 150 feet away from kitchen, a deer burst out of the nearby treeline and meandered around our foodbags. He was merely curious about us and made no attempt to come close to us, and we got to watch him walk around for a good minute, just checking things out. This rare opportunity to view wildlife was quickly interrupted as one of the younger kids decided to go chase him away despite everyone's imploration to the contrary. Oh the Youngins :).
Another good day in the books. Great views, great scenery, good food, and a little wildlife sightseeing to cap it all off. The time on the trip was passing faster with each successive moment. It was a good time to remind one's self that the society was coming back in less than 10 days. Time to enjoy each remaining day with more fervor than the previous!
Today marked the start of my two-day Leader of the Day stint along with Zach and Emma, which meant it was our responsibility to have a RAD Plan written for our route, our groups ready to go on-time, and to ensure that we safely reach the X. I had been excited for days to operate in this capacity, as leadership practice was one of the main reasons I decided to go on this trip. After another wonderful breakfast of hash browns and cheese and a 1st aid class, we were on the trail by 10:30.