Let's talk about Frank Church Wilderness again for a minute, shall we? It was a 6 day backpacking trip, 60 miles. Heaviest pack I've ever carried, about 50 pounds. Was planning on significantly less miles than that, ya know, sort of a take-it-easy-relax-at camp kinda trip. No sirs, no ma'ams, this was not the case since 3 of the trails we wanted did not exist at all and 30 out of those 60 miles were spent bushwhacking through some pretty grotesque stuff. There was a fire 2 years ago and a lot of those trees had come crumbling down, blocking or obliterating any trails. Also ran into some avalanche areas that were pretty dangerous to get around, especially when they were on top of those weird marsh areas that have hidden underground springs and stuff. Oh man. I had a few, um, "moments." It was obvious that no one had been that far back in the backcountry this season (or, considering the trail conditions, for a few years). There were about 30 creek crossings, some of which were pretty sketchy. The snow melt was still in full force and the creeks and streams were all whitewater-y. (Above: Middle Fork Salmon River; below: last night out there, at our best camp spot)
Oh, but creeks and streams, no big deal right? Let's try fording the freaking Middle Fork Salmon River, guys!?! Not recommended. Truly terrifying, really. Totally nerve wracking. Try to avoid doing this if you can. Also, avoid Soldier Creek trail and Fall Creek trail. They are not there, you will not find them, and you will bushwhack for days and get very angry. (Below: mountain lake reflections; what the trail looked like about half the time)
Okay, hey. Internet time is just about up, sleep beckons me. So we'll have to continue the Frank Church shenanigans a little later. Side note, if you need new hiking shoes? Salomans rock. I had to get a new pair before this trip. 60 miles off the bat, without breaking them in? No problems. This is the third pair I've had where I've done this. Good shoes.
Also, one more thing: Burned out. So burned out! I don't want to admit it, but it's true. I need about a week to lounge in a real bed, preferably in a dark room with lots of electrolytes available. I've had a migraine type headache for more than a week now, and I'm pretty sure it's from 10 hour field days in 103 degrees, in the open sagebrush with no shade or cloud cover. I've had a fever off/on and some creepy chills and body aches. Hopefully it's not west nile? I'm only functioning at about 40 percent lately. (below: where the trail first disappeared )