Virtual Trip to:
Dec 8-10, 1999
It was one of the coldest, darkest nights of my life.
I stayed up as long as possible,
so I would get tired and sleep until sunrise.
It was impossible to sleep and keep the fire going at the same time.
My wood supply ran low about 9:00PM.
I saved some more just in case and decided to curl up try to go to sleep.
I slept on some of the hot rocks and stayed as close
to the glowing coals as possible.
I burnt my sleeping bag in many paces, but I did not care.
I thought about putting some of the rocks inside my sleeping bag as a last resort.
I heard a few scurries in nearby bushes. I slept with a club near me just in case.
Finally, da sun rose about 6:30 AM (about 14 hours later).
Here is what I woke up to.
I headed out with determination to find these hot springs.
My map showed a passage to a nearby road.
I took the only other trail option I had left. I was sure it was the way out.
One hour later I ended up back at da Mine.
Do all roads lead to this same mine?
One thing that I have since learned is that the purpose of mining roads are not to actually go anywhere, but to wind up and around mountains in search for whatever they are mining.
I felt a little like I was on a solo Blair Witch Project.
Just about this time I encountered yet another disaster. My backpack strap broke. I had to tie it back together. This left me with one side that was much tighter than the other throwing all off balance and forcing it to continuously flop to the one side. As a last resort, I considered parting with my old sleeping bag and other things.
By this time I was real low on water. I decided to hike down
to the reservoir below to fill up.
The ground was much like a playa. It was a dry cracked lake-bed. The cracks looked to be about 2-3 feet deep. As I walked out there, I saw many animal prints including the biggest bear prints I have ever seen. I realized that all animals in the area must water here. I had fears that the bear that made these fresh prints was gonna come out on this lake bed. There would be nowhere to hide.
The closer I got to the water, the muddier it got. The mud around the water was the nastiest quicksand I have ever encountered. I later learned that many of the early settlers that came across the Rocky Mountains arrived at bodies of water much like this and brought their horses up to the edge of the water only to watch them sink and die a slow death in the mud. I ended up having to walk about halfway around this enormous reservoir to find a place where it was possible to fill up my water bottle. I kept a keen eye out for bears and other thirsty animals.
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