Day 43: 654 to 676

Tired is a word that described our morning. Tired and smelling of blackened pine from the fire last night. We were in valley, therefore cold would be another accurate word.

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 We headed down trail passing the fire ring. Picking up fish juice coated trash stored there over night as to not attach the inevitable critter to our tent. Our trash was there and we stuffed it in our packs, but the charcoal covered fish head was not.

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Our first challenge for the day was making an anticipated tough crossing of the Rio Vallecitos. As we got closer to the river, we could hear the might of its roar. We arrived and began to search for potential opportunities to cross upstream. With no luck, we returned to our packs sitting on the grass above the water. That is when a log was spotted laying perfectly over the river. The fallen tree reached longingly towards the opposing bank, not quite reaching it all of the way. This was the opportunity that we needed to get across safe and dry. Stepping up on the base of the trunk, we began stepping one foot in front of the other with our trekking poles out ready to catch if we were to lose balance. The tree narrowed as we hiked towards the top, when we reached the end. Now, it was up to us to figure out how to finish the act and land on the river bank. A bundle of limbs of a tree stuck out of the water creating a small, dry platform. We left the relative comfort of the sturdy log and put our trust into this bundle. Success! We reached the other side completely dry. So we hiked on joining back up with trail and following it through a mossy canyon. The trail took us into a field of aspens and sunshine yellow dandelions. Snaking us through a forest we worked our way higher into snow and wet marshlands.

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 We ate lunch at a campground where we treated ourselves to eating at a picnic bench and filling our bottles up with water from a pump. After lunch, we rounded the corner getting a great view of Hopewell Lake. The rest of the day was blanketed with snowpack. In between the mounds of snow, water flowed or collected making the snow more pleasurable walking then the latter.

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We began to descend into a valley where we were faced with two more river crossings, much smaller than the river at the beginning of the day. However, these proved to be extremely difficult. Narrow fast moving water surrounded by many feet of deep boggy areas. Staying dry seemed to be impossible. Dark clouds covered the sun taking with its light our warmth. Getting our feet wet was not ideal. Finally making it across, Garbelly jumped , barely making it, while Critter took her shoes off and waded through the water.

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The second crossing brought wet shoes, but by this point we were ready to find camp so we were not phased. We set up camp just in time for large hail stones to start bouncing off of our tent. We stayed in the warmth of our tent only getting out to boil water and pee. The hail ceased as the wind picked up. It would be a long night.

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 Cheers to good timing,

Garbelly & Critter

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