Mile 2344 to 2365
It turns out I was wrong. Our nightmare is not the reroute but the unbelievably loud and drunken overnight party. Alcohol is provided by the friend of a friend who arrives via the service road. At 3:30am, and I am not adding 3 hours for hiker time, these screamers have yet to go to bed. I am not sure why alcohol makes people deaf, but thank goodness it also increases lung capacity and volume, or some parts of the county may not have heard the uproariously funny fart jokes. Some thru-hikers have been zeroing at this Hotel California for 4 days and may never leave. We however are having the exact opposite reaction.
We stayed in our tents resting an extra half hour. I’d like to say we slept in, but there was not much of that happening. Ixnay takes a 15 minute lead, but we catch him fairly quickly heading up Windy Gap. Together we accidentally blow by our intended spring. We inventory our total water and decide we can make it the next 12 miles to a seasonal stream.
Cruising down the trail, Ixnay suddenly screams out in pain, grabs at his calf, staggers, mumbles and begins to run. There is blood running down his leg. He yells that he has just been stung by a wasp and a swarm is chasing him. We eventually catch up to him and the swarm has dissipated. He sucks it up and keeps moving. I am pretty sure he has been injected with adrenaline, because he hikes faster and faster until we can no longer keep up with him.
Kevin’s heels are bothering him, so we stop for a quick snack of Ibuprofen and candy bars. We eventually catch back up to Ixnay at the creek. We load up on 3 liters of water each. We will be staying at a dry camp and will have a 12 mile stretch tomorrow morning before we will get to our next seasonal creek.
We push on up Tacoma Pass and Sheets Pass, and finally stop to camp at Bearpaw Butte. We have incredible views, which by incredible means we can see 3 active fires burning to the northeast and one burning to the south. We hate to be selfish, but frankly our northern route to Canada is all we really care about. As long as the northeast fires stay east enough we should be fine.
It is windy on the ridge, but none of the smoke plumes are headed our way. We occasionally check on the fires, but they are too far away to be threatening us. We retire to our tents, hoping to make up for last night’s lack of sleep.