2021 Tough Year

Weak Knees

Well worn body

WE did start southbound at Walker Pass again and 50 miles into it Diane developed a foot problem. This would be a rather difficult to explain year. Too many non-trail issues to cover and most of it isn’t any of your business, but...

WE did start southbound at Walker Pass again and 50 miles into it Diane developed a foot problem.

Self-rescue was quite an adventure involving: a roller coaster ride in the rear of a side-by-site, a long car ride offered by a bunch of rare honest to goodness ‘good folks’, and three bus rides just to get to started home.

After Diane’s recovery and in the middle of Summer, we started northbound at Campo. Clearly it was too hot for Warren, and he quit the trail before Mt Laguna. Diane continued to Mike's Place.

Mid-summer, as it was, the water carry was excessive, and Diane developed a new foot injury caused by the weight. And somewhere between Warner Springs and Mike's Place a scorpion delivered TWO stings which seriously inflamed her knee. With the help of Sara Scott from the Boy Scout Ranch near Mike's Diane got herself home. Another ‘you-cannot-believe-the-kindest-event worthly of a better writing.

Diane was exhausted from the heat and sore from the injury, but the scorpion stings did the most damage - keeping her knee swollen for ten days. As a 'don't go there in the summer' warning, there is a video (click)news article about a death on the trail that occurred shortly after Diane returned home. That event occurred about two days out of Mike's and before Mary's Place: the next water source. There is a better write-up event described by her hiking partner.

Two days travel with no water sources - that means a very long water carry and with water weighing in at 2.21 pounds per litter the weight of Diane's pack pretty much doubles. For non-hikers: a heavier pack means slower walking, slower walking means more time required, more time means more water, more water means, a heavier pack – and doesn’t begin to address the need for more-food and - even more water because of the heat.

On a different note... There was 170-mile tractor ride between Idaho Falls and Sheridan in mid-September. Averaging 12.4 miles an hour on Idaho and Montana back roads we crossed the Continental Divide Trail atop the Price-Peet Divide, e.7,684ft (44.5490803 -112.090821).

There were two mishaps, apparently, one of the mechanic at C & B Operations slept through the classes regarding need for and the proper use of torque wrenches because that was the root cause of both. The first resulted in the inability to operate the loader/bucket up/down and the second cause a needed bolt to go missing. Luckily JD uses a lot of similar bolts, so we repurposed one and continued on our way.

The roads were surprisingly good. Seventy percent were paved in Idaho (92 miles) and seventy percent were unpaved in Montana. Of course, the up and over Price-Peet Road was dirt with two tricky places in the section between the ‘Road Closed’ signs. The Idaho side has a gap in the fence with little chance to drive around. That gap was about 8 inches wider than the 7-foot-wide tractor . The Montana side was a simple drive around.

We were fortunate in that the road was dry, very dry.

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