I woke up at the shelter, convinced I was alone now. I heard a “tap, tap, tap” in the dark. I turned my headlamp on quickly, hoping to see what was making the noise. A little mouse was trying to take an acorn between the gap in the boards, down into what I assumed was his hideyhole. The acorn wasn’t going to fit. It was like a scene out of the old-school Disney Cinderella. I laughed. And went back to sleep (well, first I snapchatted my sister and used the temperature filter to see how cold it was. 36F! I had only brought my summer quilt!)
When the sun was up, I decided to start walking. I only had 19 miles to Eagles Nest shelter or 28.8 miles to my car. Either way, no bad. I went with just a little water and figured I’d fill up at 501 shelter in 4 miles.
Well, an hour or so later I figured I should be getting close. I pulled out my phone to check the GPS and realized I’d hiked 4.4 miles…in the wrong direction.
What can you do? I turned around and 8.8 miles later I was right back where I started. I went .2 off trail to get water only to find nothing but a puddle. I started scooping water, absolutely desperate, and then saw the dead salamander.
There was very little water in this section. Well, there WAS some water but it was always off trail and I was already so ticked off about having walked that extra 8.8 miles that I kept refusing to go. I finally got to this old shelter site with a good water source but I just didn’t see the water. I tried to engineer this puddle into some sort of flow, but it just wasn’t working.
Then I looked down the side of the trail and there’s a huge stream. Of course. I scrambled down the hill and filtered bottles full, a beaver warning me off with his tail beating the ground.
And then I walked 1 more minute and it was like some sort of water oasis and all these flowing little streams crossing RIGHT over the trail. Way to go Lindsey.
So, I walked some more. I changed my socks. And I night hiked. And eventually I got to the shelter. There were two hikers already asleep at 8pm, so I was quiet and slept.
LVP: dead salamander water