To start my 4th of July, I woke up at 12:45am to the sound of something splashing in the creek. It sounded big and heavy. My first thought was a bear. After all, I was in Bear Valley. I looked out my open rainfly, but could see nothing. I checked to make sure I knew how to get the safety off my bear spray. After awhile, having heard nothing else, I went back to sleep. At 5:30 I sat up, looked out my tent door to see a big buck walking down the creek. Now, my tent was mere feet away from the creek. Unfortunately, I did not bring my camera into my tent last night. It was pretty cool though.
Since I was wild camping, I did not have toilet access. I packed everything up and got on the road. Not much more than a few miles down the road, I spied this.
Ahhh...a potty shack when most needed!
From where I was camped, I had about 9 miles to the top of Cape Horn Summit. Fortunately, the climb didn't really start until I had gone about 4 1/2 miles. When I was near the summit, I met a couple coming the other direction. They were from Salt Lake and are also doing the whole thing. They are the first couple I've met who are making the whole loop. In theory, that means I will see them again!
Vince and Angie--see ya on the backside!
We parted ways, and I continued up to the summit.
Kind of a high one!
The descent was great! At the end I came to the hwy that is also the Lowman cut-off (most people I've met are doing this).
Lowman Cut-off--last chance to bail! Nope! I turned left!
I rode the hwy for about 3 miles before returning to the dirt. This was a narrower dirt road. There were a number of turns, so I had to watch my mileage so as not to miss any of them. Here's one part.
You can barely see the Sawtooths in the distance.
Here's some more.
Getting closer to the Sawtooth Mountain Range (zoomed in).
Riding through the meadow.
At one point my directions said to turn onto Valley Creek Trail. Okay! Time for some singletrack (well, more like narrow double track).
Not too bad, except the corners were pretty rutted from the motorcycles. Then I came to this.
I went around it (JP was not too thrilled with the idea of going over it).
I came to a bridge that had a really rocky lead up to it, then a step up onto the bridge itself. I made it over the rocks (JP bouncing like a superball behind), but had to get off to get everybody up onto the bridge. Then there was a steep curve after the bridge. I hauled MC and JP up. There were 4 motorcyclists waiting for me to get out of their way. Not one offered to help me push up the trail. That's okay, I didn't need their stinkin' help!
Then the trail ended and I was back on a dirt road. The dirt was so soft it was like riding on talcum powder (not that I've ever ridden on talcum powder...). I was toddling along when I met another couple on touring bikes! They were Pam and Walter. I think they were maybe from California. They were also taking the Lowman Cut-off. It's possible I will see them again.
They gave me the lowdown on what was coming up. Including what was happening in Stanley, and where I could camp.
One of the things coming was fording a creek. Walter advised me to stay to my right.
After crossing the creek. I just walked through with my shoes on. There was no fear of them not drying, and it felt good to have cool feet for awhile.
Unbeknownst to me, I had one more climb to go. It was more of a trending up roller coaster. I could see a guy ahead of me on a mountain bike (not touring). I slowly caught up to him (I know, right? I caught up to him!!!). We got to the summit, and he said it was downhill from there to Stanley. Woo Hoo! And, a good downhill it was!
So, I arrived in Stanley. Apparently, the 4th is their big day of the year. There's a ton of people here for a music festival, and fireworks later (troublesome as it is rather dry). There is this big grassy place that had a sign saying "Tent camping". The field is marked off in rectangular sites. It costs $16.50. There are sani-cans (out of tp--good thing I carry my own), and access to water. If I walk 100 feet to my left, I can see the stage where they are playing music. There is another stage also playing music. It reminds me of being in Oslo on June 21st last summer. The concert goes until midnight. Not an early night for me tonight! Oh, and there was a parade too. I could see some of it from my tent site. This is one hoppin' town!
One thing there isn't, is showers. This means I've not had a proper shower since McCall. I have been swimming a couple of times, but I'm becoming one with my stinky self. I've come to understand why PCT thru-hikers don't bother with deoderant. Pam said there's an opportunity for a shower in Ketchum...that's still a couple of days away...
My 4th of July home!
Total miles: 39.57
Ave. speed: 7.68