Twig Adventures

PNT Day 13: Bear Grass

Wednesday July 13th, 2022, 0620-1800
Sullivan Creek campground to Shedroof Divide, WEBO mm 330.5 Segment 3 Selkirk Mountains
24.1 miles, Gain 6600′, Loss 2960′, elevation 4544

My campsite was so perfect, soft and with the stream drowning out all other noise. On my way to the pit toilet in the morning, I saw a hiker walking by. I ran out to say hi, realizing it was a guy we met in town the day before. He’d approached us in the park but I didn’t catch that he was also an EABO PNT hiker. His name was Maverick and he was Dutch. He was only doing a section hike and had been skipping around some.

The morning was an easy roll down the road for a few more miles and then a really nice trail alongside Sullivan lake. I stopped for a short break at the south end campground to chat up some ladies with nice kayaks. I was hoping one might let me paddle her pretty Eliza sea kayak but they had to take their dogs for a walk first. I told them that I was a kayak guide in Miami, hoping that might prompt them to let a complete stranger warm up the kayak while they were away, but no. It would have been fine…not like I had the means to take the kayak away with me. Nice try anyway.

I continued up up up from the lake, first along Noisy creek (aptly named), which had a fair amount of blowdowns. Quite a few people had been through, so at least all the branches were broken so that the logs could be easily stepped over. I did some more light trail maintenance in sweeping the trail of small branches. I’d meet another volunteer trail maintainer at the cafe the day before, who’d told me of their recent work around Grassy Top in the Shedroof mountains. I hiked away from the creek, up through a fire area, finding parts of the trail where the work had been conducted and it was great! Thank you volunteers!

But I made a slight miscalculation, not paying attention to upcoming water sources. From comments, I thought I might be passing by the headwaters of the creek further up, but no. I searched all the comments under the upcoming waypoints (since Far Out doesn’t bother to mark water sources for this guide), only to learn there probably wasn’t water for another 9 miles. I had less than a liter and was thirsty from going uphill in the heat. Oh well. Time to walk fast and it would be a late lunch break.

The trail ran along the ridges, undulating through dense forests and then beautiful meadows, everything so green and brilliant. The bear grass stalks with white blooms were especially striking. I’d become accustomed to this plant of the lily family from previous hikes, but never seen it in such abundance. Soon I realized that my lower body had turned chalky-yellow, as I’d become an unwilling pollinator of bear grass. I was absolutely covered by it! Luckily I love the subtle sweet fragrance and didn’t mind dousing myself with it. I will bottle it someday and give it a french sounding name: Veergraus by Twig. I will make millions.

I finally came to a few trickles of water and a pass by a road, taking a long break to re-hydrate and eat. I was only about 6 miles from our planned campsite. I hadn’t seen anyone since leaving the lake and hoped Wolverine wasn’t too far behind or worrying that I’d left her. I just had to push hard because of the lack of water. I took it easy the rest of the day, doing some peakfinding…one of my favorite apps and pastimes. There were great views of the rugged Selkirks. We’d be clambering through them in 2 days and I was excited and nervous for that. But the focus this night was to find the sparse campsite on the ridge, more water, and set-up quickly to avoid the bugs. Even with the lack of water, the biting insects were in abundance. They literally rise from the snow as it melts. They suck.

I achieved all my goals and was soon enjoying a hard-won dinner. It’d been a pretty tough day with all the ups and downs. Wolverine arrived not much later. For the first time, she’d split from Skunkbear and Sashay, her original tramily. I felt a little guilty, like I was the one tearing them apart, but this had been the plan. They wanted to stick to the red line bushwhack up the creek and both of us wanted attempt the ridge. So we would have to separate regardless. Given the difficulty, we needed to be near the start, which was still 30 miles away from our position this night. We’d need to do another big day tomorrow. Ugh.

One comment

  1. There was a woman who kayaked up the east coast, biked the northern tier with kayak on trailer, then paddled south.

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