Daily Miles: 19
Total Miles: 46
We had camped last night at a trailhead. Qball and JJ set up their tents, but we took advantage of the privy and camped there instead to avoid having to put up our tarp. That helped us to pack up quickly this morning and to have time to stretch before we all headed out at 7:00am.
We had figured it would be good to get an early start, and 7:00am is about when it gets light enough to walk without a headlamp. It was cool as we started out, and luckily we had easy dirt road walking for almost four miles, so we could walk fast enough to warm up.
The road ended at a campground near the Owyhee River. We took a snack break and then started a 2+ walk along the river. We had assumed we could just have an easy walk along the shore, but once we got to the river and looked at the shore, we could see several giant rock formations sticking out into the water, so we knew we needed to walk on the hillsides and cross above the rock formations. This ended up being some slow miles again for us as we worked our way along the river. We did come down to the river once for water and then made our way back up and over another block of the shore.
Once we turned away from the river, we had hours of steady cross country climbing. It turned out to be more gradual than we expected, but with the sun out, we were still all soaked with sweat.
Shortly after lunch, we saw a herd of elk cross a small knoll ahead of us. They must have heard us coming, and they all headed up the mountain. There were at least twenty, so we just stood there and watched them all pass in front of us. It looked like there was only one buck, and the rest were females or young elk.
We came to an awesome spring not far from the top of our climb. It was clear and cold, which was really appreciated after the water from the Owyhee River which tasted fishy. We took extra water, as we were starting a 24 mile stretch without reliable water. It turns out that we later passed several earthen tanks which were full, but we were happy not to have to drink that water which is always brown and unpleasant.
Although the sky seemed to clear in the morning, we saw dark clouds rolling in in the afternoon. At several points, we could see rain coming down in the distance, in multiple directions, and even heard thunder, but luckily we didn’t get any rain on us. We did walk through a mile or so of two-track which must have been hit with rain, because it was really muddy and slippery.
At the end of the day, we were up on a large mesa with only one tree in sight. There were no good camping sites once we were ready to stop for the day. So, we are all camped in mediocre spots. We put up our tarp tonight, since we still see rain in the distance. We were treated to an amazing sunset and then we all headed to bed. Right now it is very still out and we hope it stays that way overnight.