We made it to the final day! And after day 2 and the night of no water at Frog Lake, we were ridiculously ready to see our car.
Miles covered: 4
Our goal this day was just to get out as quickly as possible and get some water. And we were pretty darn successful. Seeing as we just ate power bars for breakfast, and didn’t have to make any coffee or food, we packed up camp and hit the trail very quickly. According to the map, we were going to head back to the highway and walk for just a little bit right on the road, then turn off onto a steep downhill trail. Follow that for a while (grab some water at one of the streams we would cross), then follow the little road right up to where we had parked.
Without a doubt, the biggest victory of the day would have to be Stets spotting our trail sign. We didn’t have to hike on the highway at all, as our map had indicated. The trail started just before we reached the road. By that point in the trip, and after our previous day, if we had missed that it would have taken a feat of God to keep our morale at a decent level.
The trip down was a pleasant surprise. It was downhill, but not Ram-Your-Toes-Into-The-End-of-Your-Shoes tough. We found the best little watering hole to fill up our waters (we even drove back to rinse off after we made it to our car). And the last uphill bit to the car went by quickly.
I wish I could give a fitting description of the feeling that I got when I saw my car. It’s completely indescribable. We had only been gone for 3 days, but it felt like it had been years since we parked at the trailhead. Ok that may be a tinge dramatic, but still. In the book that we read (Almost Somewhere: Twenty-Eight Days on the John Muir Trail by Suzanne Roberts: I will talk more about this in an upcoming post about surprising backpacking necessities, because let’s face it, this post is already getting pretty lengthy), Roberts explained that seeing cars and people in street clothes was overwhelming, she said that everything seemed too bright. Now, I fully understand what she meant. Looking at the parking lot, it blew my mind that Stetson and I had been wandering out in, what felt like the middle of nowhere, while SUVs, and motor homes, and bathrooms were all just nestled in here a few miles from us. I had survived my first trip!
In the past, when I would think of backpackers the image of some super, go-with-the-flow, hippie, flower-child would come to mind. And I would like to assume I’m not the only one who thought that. But, after my first trip, I realize just how much preparation and planning goes into even a very small trip. Let alone, the longer treks—like the Pacific Crest Trail or the Tahoe Ridge Trail– that tons of people venture out on each year. Luckily for me, Stets did all of the planning, so I just got to reap the benefits.
On our 15-hour drive back to Wyoming, Stets and I had lots, and lots of time to talk. He had definitely “got the bug.” He was already talking about the longer trips he would like to complete and smaller trips for this summer. He asked me my thoughts on doing something like the TRT and honestly I wasn’t sure at the time. I mean it’s not like the actual process of backpacking was a real blast for me. But, that sense of accomplishment I had at the end of each day made it unbelievably worthwhile. I can’t imagine how much that feeling would multiply at the end of a month-long trek. I’ve heard people talk about different kind of “highs” that come from physical activity. You know, like runner’s high or a high after lifting weights. And that has never clicked with me. I have nodded along and agreed that I too had that runner’s high, while in reality I was still attempting to slow my heart so it didn’t explode and dreaming of laying on my couch for the next few hours. Finally I get it! There was definitely a high that accompanied the end of each hiking day. Granted, it was pretty low key as I lay in the tent trying to keep my bug-spray and sweat coated legs from sticking together in my sleepingbag. But, it was still a high nonetheless.
I guess, that feeling is what keeps people coming back and pushing themselves even further.
Thanks for reading,