Daily Miles: 21
Total Miles: 129
Another morning of waking up to a went tent/tarp and wet sleeping bags. We have talked with several folks who have hiked the ODT in the fall and they said they had cowboy camped all but one night on the trail. That seems impossible to us, as the condensation has been so prevalent each morning on the trail. We had expected to have to put up our tarp only a handful of times on this trail, but so far we have put it up every night except when we slept at the privy our second night.
We had gotten some rain and wind overnight, but the sky was clearing as we got up this morning. When we were packing up, we heard coyotes in the distance. Then we started to hear other coyotes and they were each coming from a different side of us. It sounded like they were surrounding us which was really cool.
There was some confusion with our water data sheet this morning and we ended up missing the water we were expecting this morning. That meant that we had very little water to get us at least 6 miles and possibly as much as 10 miles. We were frustrated with the mistake and a little concerned, but with the cooler temps in the morning, we knew we could make it to the next water, even if we were really thirsty.
As luck would have it, we were walking down a nice dirt road just a few miles in, when we saw a car coming towards us. The lady stopped and asked if we needed anything. She mentioned she had extra water that she didn’t need, as she was heading to the airport. We were so excited, as she had at least four gallons of water. We were able to fill up our bottles and even drink some extra. It was such a lucky encounter. And to make things even better, she had been camping at Three Forks (where we were headed today) and had left a full canister of fuel there. It is perfect for JJ who was running low on fuel since his package didn’t come in to Rome in time. What a perfect Trail Angel!
The walking today was mostly cross country on the rim above the canyon. The cross country walking is fairly flat, so one would think it would be easy, but in fact, it has the trifecta of bad terrain: (1) it is an area where cows have walked around in the mud, making a mess…then it all dries into a very uneven surface (2) grass and sod clumps which stick up from the ground, ready to make you roll your ankle; and (3) lots of rocks…often covered by grass. So, the cross country turns out to be pretty taxing, and you really need to keep your eyes on the ground to see where you are stepping.
When we can, we will take a dirt road to avoid parts of the cross country. It allows us to walk faster, and it is just easier walking. Today we were able to break up the cross country a bit by walking on a dirt road for awhile. It seemed like the road was a magnet for snakes, as we saw many snakes…all smooshed by the very few cars passing on that road.
We got to Three Forks a little after 5pm. Although it is technically a campground, the only thing here is a privy and a few flat spaces. There are several other campers here, but they are tucked in their own corners, so it feels like we have the place to ourselves. We had a nice time hanging out over dinner and washing up. Then everyone was in their tents by 7:45am. Another nice day on the ODT.