Tuesday, August 13, 2019; day 24
I wake to clear skies, the sun rising an orange hue to the east.
This morning will mark the start of the bushwhack.
I am full of so many nerves, excitement and fear: I feel alive.
Though it has put me even further behind, I am glad I waited for the storm to pass. The day was beautiful.
I scrambled up to the crest between Pyramid Peak and Lion’s Head and followed it south.
The views were incredible, exhilerating.
I located the small cairn that marks the western descent.
The path was fairly clear at first, as everyone started there. It quickly disappeared.
I set a west bearing on my compass, veering towards the south, should I have to veer.
I checked my compass constantly. The descent was steep, but not uncomfortable.
I came to a stream, it continued west as well. At times I was practically walking in it.
I would stop suddenly to find myself entangled in brush and pine taller than I was. I fought my way uphill towards shorter brush with more give.
On three occasions, I found bits of old trail to follow. Each time, thrilling. Each time, short-lived.
I began to check myself against my GPS, against the theoretical track-lines that did not exist. I moved southwest, then northwest, then due west, and every combination thereof.
I took a step to nearly fall forward due to a sudden drop in forest floor.
I wove back and forth across the creek, eventually not bothering to try to keep dry, sometimes fording up to my knees.
Sometimes I hardly felt I was moving at all.
At times it seemed my body took control, knowing what to do before my mind could cast doubt or hesitation.
I impressed myself as I threw my weight forward, fully shifting to balance on fallen trees.
I followed animal trails, deer and bear prints in the mud.
I sank deep in mud barely able to lift one foot, then the other.
I fell on slick stone, while the creek cascaded down gracefully.
I was so close, yet it felt so far.
Finally, the forest became wooded pines, with a floor of soft duff.
Finally, I noticed a little pink tie on a tree. Then, another.
Then the old trail opened up to Lion Creek Trail 42.
At 1930 I was setting up camp.
What an amazing experience!
Never before have I felt so challenged, accomplished, rewarded.
Oh, Idaho, thank you!!!