Wednesday, December 22, 2010

November 7, 2010: day 2

Waking up to 3 inches of new snow, Derek soon learned not to leave his boots or coat out.

Over night, the rain had blown under the bottom of his tarp and into his boots, freezing them solid. To get them on, Derek had to melt the boot liners with his hand warmers until the they were pliable enough to slip onto his feet. His coat, which Derek hung on a tree the calm evening before, was iced solid to the trunk. After beating off the ice, Derek reclaimed his coat.

Breakfast was a meal of two Quaker instant oatmeal packets. Harold had a hard time choking his down. The oats just weren't sitting well in his stomach.

Once the two packed up and headed out they were surprised to find the trail went straight down into what looked like a lake. There was flooding in the area that forced Derek and Harold to go off trail and navigate around the water.

After about 40 minutes of bushwhacking, Harold wondered if they were going to make it passed the flooding or if they would have to back-track and find another way. After a bit more, the two were able to find a collection of floating debris - branches, pine needles, and such - that was just dense enough to hold their weight and allow them passage.

By that time, the two were way off the trail and mighty thankful for the Garmin GPS, which got them back on track.

When it was time to refill their water bladders and take a little break, Harold told Derek that he wasn't feeling too good. Derek could tell and asked Harold what he wanted to do. Knowing he was getting sick but not willing to give up that easily, Harold chose to push on another 1+1/2 mile to Ollalie Lake where the two decided they would rest a couple days until Harold felt better.

Back on the trail, the two were passing some large boulders and rocks. No sooner had they commented on the perfect conditions for a cougar den than the two spotted some cat tracks in the snow all about them. Their eyes were peeled and their steps quickened after that.

Finally reaching Ollalie Lake, Derek began making chicken soup for dinner. The smell of warm soup attracted a curious raccoon who kept himself concealed while turning over Derek's sled, moving his 100 lb pack around to get at Derek's coat, and began chewing at the coat to get to the bubble gum it smelled in the pocket.

After that, Derek was yelling and chasing off raccoons until 2:00am. Sick Harold finally had enough and decided to scare it off with the couple of gun shots. The second shot hit the ground right in front of the raccoon and blew earth up into its face. It worked and the raccoons left them alone for the rest of the night.

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