Hiking Second Day – Bushwhacking Failures, but Trip Success
This morning we awoke by the river, fired up to commence the bushwhacking phase of the trip, eschewing the trail for a direct route up and over a ridge to a nearby lake. The interesting part about this is, we didn’t even have a decent topo map of the area we were in. We were relying on memory, dead reckoning, and a large-scale map of the surrounding wilderness area. We did also have a GPS with some limited-resolution topo map data, but using it showed us more about the limitations of a small screen for getting a clear picture of our situation than the situation itself.
After some more or less extended discussion and kibbitzing, jazzed up a bit by the relative distaste of certain members of the party for certain aids to navigation, we came to our conclusions and headed off – straight up the ridge slope. Unfortunately, in addition to it being steep, it was evident that the forest here had been logged, meaning it was full of smaller trees closer together, and even occasional sections of underbrush. It was tough going simply traversing across the slope, let alone going up it. We made progress at a snail’s pace, but burned energy more like hares.
Eventually, these conditions proved sufficiently adverse to bring us to abandon the effort, particularly as we knew the trip down the other side of the ridge would be at least as steep. And so we left the score at Terrain 1, Humans 0 and headed back down to the trail. We’d do an end run around the ridge by going back to the trailhead and hitching up to the other, then reversing our planned outward hike to the destination.
This ended up working out OK, though it made for a long day (and longer for some of us than others), and we all celebrated our success together in the evening. We again hung our food, finding a slightly better situation to do this than the night before, had a fire, and went to bed to all sleep well. There was no wind and very little wildlife (and thankfully no bears), so that it was one of the quietest nights we’d spent in a long time.