Mile 2432 to 2454
I wake to find a mouse running in and out of my vestibule. With several new holes chewed in the tent screen, I curse and give him the trail name Prime Suspect. It rained hard all night so everything is soaking wet. We yell back and forth between tents and agree to pack up during a slight break. It is hard to describe the joy of putting on wet clothes, so I won’t. As I put on my pack I realize it needs a Midol. The water retention in the tent, gear and pack make it heavier than I can ever remember, including the times in the Sierra with a bear canister and a week’s worth of food.
Today it rains off and on all day, but mostly on. It is cold, windy and foggy – so much so that Ixnay does not stop to take a single break in the 22 miles. I mention how great the warm car will be when we reach Daniel tomorrow. Kevin mentions how great a hot shower would be. We agree to stop mentioning.
We pass Deception Pass and Deception Lake. Along the way we encounter a sign warning of a difficult ford in 2 miles and that stock should take an alternate route. Apparently PETA posted the sign, as there is no mention of care for people needing to ford the river. As we press on we encounter so many downed trees across the trail we wonder why anyone would worry about the ford. Frankly, we figure if the horses can handle limboing and jumping the trees they can probably do cartwheels across the difficult ford.
At one of the lakes there is a sign for a pit toilet. I have been holding it way too long, dreading digging and squatting in the pouring rain. The pit toilet is a roof-less, wall-less wooden box over a hole with a lid that turns into a back rest. The lid/back won’t stay up unless I am leaning against it. Sitting on it in the pouring rain, I wonder if my own hole under a tree might have been a better option.
Even soaking wet and freezing cold we enjoy the crazy antics of pika, marmots and a squirrel that did not want to leave the trail without his huge pinecone. We eventually catch up to Ixnay at Mig Lake where he is setup and warming. We pitch our already soaking tents in the rain. We do not even attempt to cook, but just crawl in, change out of wet clothes, get in sleeping bags and eat bars and snacks. If one arrives in my vestibule, I may catch and skin a mouse for a very small blanket. I hope PETA is not reading this.