The morning got off to an early start. During the night, we had heard a very large animal stomp through camp, but we could all agree that hooves were behind the ruckus, not paws. The trail took us through a meadow damp from the morning's dew. Scavenger and Garbelly were ahead when Critter realized they had missed a turn. Instead of continuing on trail, she followed their footprints as to not break up the group. Upon catching back up to them, they had already realized that we were off trail but decided to continue ahead and eventually meet back up with trail.
This somewhat easy feat ended up being more challenging. We came up to a river which we knew we had to cross at some point but our detour ended up having us cross it more than once. We finally found trail and even though we lost about forty-five minutes we kept our spirits high and continued to water for a small break.
We sat out our tent to let it dry off from the night before and watched a twenty-five mule pack train walk by. As we were packing up, Garbelly noticed a small black Bear wondering silently behind Scavenger and then down towards the water. He was not even phased by us as we stood in awe as it passed by. This was our first trail bear!
Continuing on, we passed by many more horses. The maps were not kidding when they said this bit of trail was the "Horse Super Highway." Horses have the right away so each time we stepped off of trail and waited for them to pass. Two riders came up to us and asked if we had seen two of their lost mules but we had not, at least not we knew. Secretly we hoped to find them and ride them to Canada.
We stopped for lunch in a little section of shade.
Further up trail we ran into two Southbounders, T-Rex and The Graduate. We exchanged trail beta, and they shared information about trail angels up ahead that could give us rides into towns. Then we headed up towards our big climb for the day. The climb began with really nice switchbacks crossing over Two Ocean Creek which starts as one single creek and and splits into Pacific Creek and Atlantic Creek. This National Natural Landmark would be easy to miss without maps. Looking at our maps, the Pacific Creek pours into the Colombia River and into the Pacific Ocean, and Atlantic Creek pours into the Mississippi River and further into the Gulf of Mexico. We stopped for a bit and watched this small stream and tried to fathom each drop of water's long journey. These thoughts continued passing through our heads as we began our climb.
The climb began steadily and within twenty minutes we had climbed over 800 feet. With 1,200 feet left, we each took our own pace to the top. The descent went quick as we searched for a good place to eat dinner. We ran into Liam and Kate cleaning up from their own dinner. We caught up and when they set off down trail we set up to begin cooking. Rain started to fall and we could hear thunder in the distance. We ate quickly and then packed up. We hiked a little bit into the night. Loudly talking to each other to scare away any large furry critters that might have been around. We found a perfect camp spot tucked into between the trees, and immediately fell asleep.
Garbelly & Critter