Daily Miles: 15
Total Miles: 144
Once again, the time zone change has gotten the best of us. Yesterday we all moved our clocks to Pacific Time, but somehow overnight the clocks changed and no-one’s alarm went off. SweetPea woke up 40 minutes later and roused the group.
It was warmer out this morning, and for the first time in awhile, our sleeping bags were dry and our tarp was only a little damp, instead of dripping wet. Another notable difference was that none of us started the day in our down jackets.
The first half of the day was spent walking on a dirt road. We had a good climb and finally a big decent back to the Owyhee River. Even though we had slept at the river, we walked away from it for ten miles and then come back to it. We have been hiking around the Owyhee for over a week and only today did we finally get our feet wet in it.
Once we got to the river, we stopped for an early lunch, dried out our tents and did some laundry. We found a big juniper to sit under, which was nice since it had gotten quite hot.
After lunch, we started down the West Little Owyhee, which sometimes had water to ford and sometimes was completely dry. The pace of our walking slowed considerably, as we tried to work our way through the canyon. JJ decided to wear crocs during this stretch in order to keep his hiking shoes dry. It was pretty impressive to see him scrambling around rock and on cliff sides in just his crocs.
At times we were walking through water that went up to SweetPea’s waist, and other times we were walking through large rocks and boulders in a dried up river bed. Most of the afternoon, we were walking at under one mile per hour pace. The craziest part about this section, is that it is not just a few miles long…it is about 34 miles long!
As the afternoon went on, it was pretty clear to SweetPea that she wasn’t able to walk at a reasonable pace in the terrain of the West Little Owyhee. At her pace, we would run out of food before we made it to the next town (McDermitt). We had already added one extra day of food to this section, thinking that would be enough to account for the slower pace in this area, but it seems like the length of the slow stretch is just too long to make it to town in our planned seven days.
So, our current plan is for SweetPea and Beardoh to exit the canyon at the first alternate out (sadly that is 15 more miles from where we are camped), while Qball and JJ continue on the regular route. Without having the wait for SweetPea, they should be able to travel through the canyon much faster. Then we will all meet up in McDermitt where we are planning to take a rest day.
We are all cowboy camping tonight for the first time on this trail. The sky is so full of stars!
Highlights of the day: Seeing bighorn sheep, seeing a rattlesnake, and the West Little Owyhee Canyon which is super cool!