Sunday, August 24, 2014

North Fork of John Day River backpack: Day Two

Wednesday morning we wake up ready to find our wilderness trailhead. I am becoming friends with my pack - I can actually find things when I need them, and I have a system for how to pack clothing, food, cooking gear, etc. Mark and I have split up the tent and rain fly / poles to share the weight.

Mark and I both chose Deuter brand packs at REI. They feel GOOD and fit well.
His is a 65-liter capacity and mine is 60-liter.

We bought them back in May, and had hoped for an overnight shake-down hike prior to this big hike, but there just hasn't been time. Thank goodness the REI staff helped us adjust the fit really well, and they are working out well on their first hike.

We have decided to use hiking staves. We intended to bring two each, but one set was left at home, so we each have just one stave. It turns out to work really well for us. I know that some hikers prefer two staves, but just one worked well for this hike. I could switch off when my hand got sweaty, and I had a free hand to pick thimbleberries and huckleberries along the way! They help with balance, and make the trail easier to manage on the uphill and downhill sections of trail.

Of course we stop at the bridge into the actual wilderness boundary for a hiking portrait.

After rain during the night, our morning is much cooler than the day before, and we make good progress on this amazing and beautiful trail.

After about 4 miles stop for lunch at a lovely campsite. Surprise! It has a BED!!

It's a little hard to imagine someone hauling this metal bed-spring four miles into the woods. Even with abundant evidence of horse campers in the area (lots of "horse apples")…really???…a bed??? That wouldn't fit on a horse.

We honor the mystery of the bed's presence by christening the site "Huckleberry Springs." After all, there are plenty of nearby bushes loaded with ripe huckleberries, and we enjoy sitting on the metal springs.

Dorothy declares it a perfect site: good water access, a swimming/fishing hole, good space for tents, and a bed. Even though it seems early in the day to stop hiking, we ultimately agree to stay at Huckleberry Springs for the night, and settle into a fun afternoon of swimming, fishing, and rest.

 My favorite fisherman

 As always, we keep all food out of the tents, and hang it high in bear bags.

Even with no campsite amenities (i.e. - picnic tables, etc), we manage cooking quite nicely in our primitive "kitchens."

 I used a flat rock to support our little stove and a log as a kitchen countertop.

 Dorothy & Ken enjoyed the "sofa."

Yum! Oatmeal with fresh huckleberries!

Day two of the 60x60 backpack trip along the North Fork of the John Day River.
August 13, 2014

1 comment:

Julia Taylor said...

It sounds like a new adventure every day. I am glad that you were able to find so many yummy berries as you hiked.