Daily Miles: 6
Total Miles: 215
What a turn the trail has taken today.
This morning, we were celebrating making it through the cold night. When we went to sleep last night, Beardoh checked the temps on his watch which showed 19 degrees. When he got up to pee at midnight, the temp wasn’t registering anything, so we figured it was probably below 15 degrees. And when we were packing up this morning, it was 17 degrees!
We were surprised that we actually managed to stay pretty toasty overnight. This was the first in probably 8 years that we have actually slept in a tent. It seemed to make a real difference in keeping some heat in. The inside of the tent was full of condensation in the morning, but we had expected that, since we had zipped up both doors overnight.
As we were getting going in the morning, it started to snow again, and continued off and on all morning. At times it was coming down pretty steady, but overall there ended up being just over an inch of snow on the ground. Just enough to make our shoes wet and our feet very cold.
As we started out, we continued to follow the ravine in a gradual climb. Then, at a certain point, the route took a sharp left and headed straight for the ridge. It was a steep climb, and we were all sweaty when we got to the top. We got extra cold on the ridge, as we were wet and the wind was picking up.
It felt at times like we were walking in a cloud. With fog, snow and wind, we couldn’t really see too much around us. At times, we could get quick glimpses of a wide and deep valley below, but mostly we were focused on trying to keep warm, which seemed like a losing battle.
At one point, when we were walking down a dirt road we heard a truck. We thought the road looked like it had been driven on recently, but were surprised to actually see the truck. Surely the driver was even more surprised to see the four of us out walking in the freezing temps and snow.
He stopped and talked with us for a few minutes. He was up in the mountains for the hunting week. When we told him where we were headed (Denio), he mentioned his camp was off our route. We said we were fine to keep walking and we parted ways.
About ten minutes later, when we were checking our GPS, we realized we had cell service and checked the weather. It looked much worse than it had when we left McDermitt yesterday. We thought the weather was supposed to improve by tomorrow, but the forecast had the temps going quite a bit lower than today.
We started to think that it probably wasn’t a good idea to continue on in weather that was going to get even colder. As JJ’s phone shut down from the cold, we also realized that we would be in a pickle if our phones with GPS shut down from the cold, since it was too foggy to be able to navigate with only the maps.
At that point, we decided to try to find the camp of the hunter we had met. We figured we could warm up at his camp and try to come up with a plan for how to proceed. We weren’t sure how far off the route the camp was, but we could at least follow the tire tracks to find it.
After about forty minutes of walking, we came to the camp and saw the guy we had met, Chris, and met his uncle, Steve. When we arrived, they were actually taking down their camp and heading home, since the weather was so bad. They were happy to give us a ride off the mountain, which we were so happy about.
We knew they were going to be passing through Denio and Fields (our next two trail towns) and we hoped we could be dropped off there. Once we got service, we called the lodging options in both places and were told that they were completely booked with hunting season guests.
We weren’t really sure what to do next, but Steve was going to be driving through Lakeview (another ODT trail town) and could drop us off there. Unfortunately it is about a two hour drive from Denio, but we didn’t have many options.
We are happy to be inside and warm/dry tonight. Tomorrow we will have to figure out our next steps. The weather has really made us re-think our plans, so we are all going to have to mull things over tonight.