Always in progress . . .
Next morning started around 7 (I opened my eyes at 07:22). Around 8:40 AM, I started my hike. For that day, I planned to complete a circle – climb 4,832 Carter Dome mountain, descend on a Black Angel trail, and complete the circle using Wild River trail. The last portion of the circle was familiar to me from my May 2014 trip through East Branch trail. The circle runs about 13 miles, and I was planning to spend the whole day completing it.
My breakfast was a mixture of boiling water, Grape Nuts (interesting these is a type of a hot cereal, and they have nothing to do neither with grapes, nor with nuts, just like real estate agency Cold Well Banker has nothing to do neither with cold, nor with wells, not with banking) dry fruits and actual nuts.
With the super minimum load of food, water and clothes, I started this day excursion at 8:37. I have reached the first junction around 9am, and started a nice 2.5 miles climb up to the Carter Dome on a Rainbow Trail. The main attraction here turns out to be fresh raspberries growing in abundance left and right of the trail. At first I was ignoring bunches of ripe berries, but eventually I had to stop, and start feeding like a wild animal (09:45).
As usual, not a single person the entire way to the top. It is a steady incline and I was glancing at the GPS to estimate when I already get there. At 10:46 trail starts to go up much sharper. Around 11:06, I have reached the intermediate mount top with a view, but without a name. It felt that the real summit is somewhere near.
At 11:51, I walked onto the top of Carter Dome.
[12:10 – at the Carter Dome mountain] I am eating bagel and drinking iodine water. I am drying my clothes on the branches and charging iPhone from an external battery. I already finished an apple and an orange. All I have left is some Trail mix for an afternoon snack. This was a well planned provisioning for a day trip. I am estimating that I already covered 5km and I have left for today 9.3 miles or 15km.
Here passes an Appalachian Trail, so here lies the only segment of the entire path where I would meet people today. Here it is more like a city street. Every minute two, three or the whole group of people would walk up and down the trail. Luckily, I would spend here only an hour and jump down again into a quietness and wilderness of a Black Angel Trail at 1PM.
Here starts a somber 5 miles downhill trail, without any connections, deviations or variety. Not a single person on a busy long weekend, only one view worth mentioning, and endless winding and dropping out of site path.
Here you cannot help but start figuring all kinds of tricky estimates, when you would reach the end of this trail. If I went just over 1 mile and it took me almost 1 hour, I would reach the Wild River only by 6PM. No way! What if I to march a little faster? In the end, you are almost running to finish this trail and “O God” – you see the sign that looks like a cross at 15:17. Here is a river called Wild River. Here I already walked 3 month ago. Here is water, and swimming, and warmth from the sun, and now I know, that I can finish this loop before the dark sets in at 8PM.
This is the lowest point of the loop. From here, I would slope up gently along the river, and I remember the time schedule that I was doing on Saturday, May 24, 2014. After about an hour of relaxing and bathing in the river, I thing, I am about 2 hours behind the schedule. This time (01) the water level is low – so that I would not have to cross so many relentless water crossings; (02) my backpack is almost nonexistent; and (03) I know all the intricate traps and poorly marked sections that make one to lose tempo.
After 2 miles of brisk walk, I reach the Eagle Link junction at 17:09. Now I am only 9 minutes behind my last time schedule. Very nice. About an hour left to go to East Branch. I continue to walk full speed ahead. I continue to gain elevation. River is slowly getting more peaceful and timid. I recognize the landmarks from before. Once more I lose the trail for a little bit in the area under heavy beaver reconstruction. Here even the river itself is confused and searching hopelessly to get through. At the familiar river crossing, I see that I am now only 5 minutes behind. Full speed ahead. Now the really boggy and wet section – it is grass and water everywhere. Very difficult to avoid the wet. However, this time I know not to step on the grass. My feet are searching for stones. They will carry me through. Can I get to East Branch at 6PM? Let us do it. Fast. Faster. Is this turn is the last one? The river now is on the other side of the trail. One more turn. One more climb. River is getting close and louder. GPS showing an approaching target.
It is 18:00 on the clock. I am running to make a picture at 18:00 exactly. I see the sign. I am there! Hurray. I am almost back home – back to the tent.
In a very reasonable 18:22, I am back at the campsite. Everything is in place, and wind did not blow my vulnerable tarp away. Everything is under control. Now I have very happy quiet time ahead: get the water from the bog; boil it; cook some food; drink some tea; write some travel notes and a well-deserved sleep. What a perfect, perfect day. And what a delight to walk the wild without the heavy load of the backpack. I should plan every trip like this.
Navigate through the List
- 08-29 FR - Off to a wild New Hampshire (2018/01/25)
- 08-30 SA - Up Rainbow to Carter Dome - down Black Angel to Wild River loop (2018/01/29)
- 08-31 SU - A day at "sea" - just soaking up the wild (2018/02/03)
- 09-01 MO - Some magnesium fire please (2018/02/06)