Summer’s End

Mineral Creek from the headwaters.

All things must go. We’ve two weeks before the equinox, but last night dipped well below freezing down in town, the aspens are yellowing on the gravel bars, and the highest of the larches are doing the same above 7k. Most definitively our backpack from Logan to Kintla, staying at 50 Mtn and Hole-in-the-Wall, was the last in a succession of trips which took up that orgiastic period which is at these northern latitudes those brief six weeks lacking in winter cold altogether. Now it is time to pause, while days shorten and the cold evenings grow ever more clear and sharp, before the next and last rush to tic boxes in advance of snow.

Lake Francis cirque.

Since I returned from Alaska I’ve had one weekend only without a backpack, and more of those than not have been three days, rather than two. A fantastic run, but the price must be paid.

Ideally this weekend would have been rather casual: 3 20 mile days, on trails, with good weather and no unusual difficulties. Fatigue had other ideas. Sunday night I spilled the rice all over the pine needles, earlier that evening M bonked and dry heaved on the traverse from Browns to Hole, Monday morning I didn’t tighten my dromedary and dripped 2 liters of water onto my backside through the sleeping bag and tent and (very waterproof) pack, and along Kintla lakes the wheels came off and I had to take multiple feet-up breaks to ease the burning in my soles.

From Hole up to Boulder.

Being awake all yesterday, at work, was neither easy nor welcome. For now my mind and connective tissue require time, doing other things.

M tolerating my indolence.


4 responses to “Summer’s End”

  1. Good riddance bugs and sweat stains.

    Hello numb toes and heavy packs!

  2. This sounds like my summer of ’08. There wasn’t a dang minute of free time I wasn’t in the mountains. My appetite for backpacking was absolutely voracious that summer. There comes a time when you have to stand down for a week or two not only for your body but for you mind. I honestly felt like all the scenery was dulling and I found what should have been amazing views to be blase. That’s not good.

    Fortunately (un?) it sounds like you’re experiencing mostly physical pain but that needs to be listened to as well. Perhaps the next two weeks will be focused on rest and then some chill time before the winter goodness sets in next month.

  3. […] for most of the year, I have gotten slower.  Fatigue was part of it, but the 20+ mile days on our trip last month felt much harder than they had any right to.  Partly because of new habits, but more wholly […]

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