Caribou National Forest :: Bear Creek – Idaho. Part Two

So where was I?

Oh yeah… 6 MREs.  If you’ve never had the pleasure of eating MREs I am here to tell you, they do strange things to your intestines.

Macaroni and cheese MRE? Truly terrible.

The view from camp was a sight to behold and none of these pictures do it justice… but it’s the best we can do.

Seeing as it was dinner time, naturally we were starving and wet from the journey. And the rain (which really was glorious, by the way, there is little worse than being miserably hot while hiking) inspired us to set up camp as quickly as possible.  So we did, and then we got kind of bored because we were too tired to explore and my camp burner kept extinguishing itself which was incredibly annoying. so we sat around waiting for water to boil, attempted to play cards.

But the best part, by far, was trying to sleep.

We’d had our fill of dinner, and now were so exhausted that we “fell asleep” as the sun went down.  I think it must have been 8:30 or 9 pm when we decided the day was over.

or so we thought…

Our sleeping arrangement:  we brought two fleece sleeping bag liners in place of our regular sleeping bags because 1) they were less bulky and 2) they weighed about 2.5 lbs less.  We also do not own pads.  You can already see where this is going…  suffice it to say, this night was probably the longest night of my life.

The day was not over at 9 pm, nor 11 pm, nor 12 am, nor 2 am, nor 4 am, nor when I had to pee so bad that i couldn’t sleep.  We were freezing and every time I woke up one side of my body would be numb so, I would re-shift, wrap as much of my body around Hummer as I could to share body heat, and then do it all over again.

In a situation like that we ended up playing mind games with the sun.  The game of hoping and wishing for it to rise again as soon as possible because that would mean the night was finally over and our bones could stop screaming at us.

According to Hummer, there were scary animal noises all around us all night.  I was so delirious that I didn’t notice, but apparently there was a small animal under our rain fly right outside our tent hanging out with our shoes.  I don’t remember that part, but I’m also not the protector, that’s Hummer’s job.

Anyway… as soon as it was about 5:30 or 6 am there was general rejoicing. We started an actual fire to keep warm and cook oatschmeal and hot cocoa/cider for breakfast. We eventually went down to the creek to refill our water bladders (we have a filter, don’t worry) for the trek out. ( we also hung our food up in trees so as to not die by bear attack)

I saw some female deer running up the side of the mountain and my initial thought was “oh look! cute deer!” shortly thereafter, however the only other members of our camp besides us (the ceaselessly chattery squirrels) were no longer the only other members. There was a buck somewhere near us because we could hear him pawing the ground and huffing angrily at us.

*More people die by deer attack than sharks, bears, and alligators combined.*

Our tent was still up, there were earwigs all over our packs, dirty dishes, I had to retie my boots, and change my clothes.  And this buck just kept breathing at us.  We couldn’t see him, but oh deary could we hear him.  Needless to say, we packed up as quickly as possible–but I apparently wasn’t moving fast enough.  I wanted to at least get my boots retied before we left camp.  Hummer was getting impatient and we were both scared.

The last straw was when hummer saw some does moving closer to our camp (I was in the middle of retying my boots) when he said we have to go. Now. I wasn’t ready to go, but I knew what that meant.  Luckily by then we had packed everything else up and my boots were essentially the last thing (not really, but we’ll just say so).

I’m glad we avoided a potentially lethal run in with a buck surrounded by his ladies. But I also wished he could have just left us alone so we could clean up and get out without feeling rushed or that death might be imminent.

But all in all, we came back in one piece with a greater appreciation for things like carpet and clean socks. And we hiked back to our car in about half the time it took us to get there, so that was pretty cool too.

Anyone up for some more backpacking?

Read Part One here.

Caribou National Forest :: Bear Creek – Idaho. Part One

We went backpacking in celebration of our two year anniversary last week.  Actually our plan was quite brilliant…we would spend two days and a night backpacking after which we would then spend the next night in the honeymoon suite of an awesome bed and breakfast (but that is another story).

today – the hike

We crossed the pallisades dam into “calamity campgrounds.”  They have the weirdest names for rec parks and trails in Eastern Idaho…

Calamity Campgrounds
Crater’s of the Moon
Dead Man’s Trail
Beaver Dick

Really? Who comes up with these? …but i digress

so we drove about six miles through a windy gravel road to get to bear creek trailhead (the mountain roads here are a million times better kept than oregon mountain roads–just sayin).

we lacked a map, and the sign didn’t tell us how long the trail was supposed to be, but by previous research we knew our plan was to hike about 7 miles in.  we never did find these hidden hot springs we had planned to find, maybe another time.

We hit the trail around 1 pm.  While on the trail we saw a moose not twenty yards away! Also countless snakes (I have a habit of almost stepping on snakes), mosquitos, nasty looking caterpillars, clicky locusts (they make a funny clicking sound when they fly away), squirrels, angry bucks and twitchy does… but the kicker was probably when we stopped to eat “lunch” at a pile of rocks in what we now call “scary meadow.” We heard a sound overhead that I thought was an airplane at first.  But airplanes make a constant droning sound.  This sound started up and then stopped, and then it happened again.

I felt my chest tighten and I’m sure my eyeballs popped out of their sockets.  I was eating a peanut butter nature valley granola bar.  Hummer looked at me, and I looked back at him and we knew we had to get out of there.  The sound was like a big animal breathing…which seems kind of odd to me now because we never would have heard it if it wanted to eat us…hummer thought it might have been a mountain lion.  We may never know…

Needless to say, I wanted to throw my granola bar and run away.  Hummer didn’t even bother zipping up his pack and we booked it out of scary meadow faster than you could say “boo.”

After awhile, our senses still peaked, we were probably a mile away from scary meadow we finally relaxed a little and tried to be as loud as two average people could be–so we didn’t run into anymore scary animals like that.

Next obstacle were the nasty caterpillars that were hanging out on some bushes that were overgrown on the trail…from the ground to the tops (about 6 feet) were covered in caterpillars. This was probably more unnerving to me than scary meadow…


And we made it through, alive and well. and i accidentally threw one of the caterpillars in the creek.  oops.

We found signs of human existence about six miles in.  So we decided to take a break here, eat a snack, take pictures of the sap covered trees, and go pee.  Little did we know this would be our camp site as well.

But we were still on our search for these natural and hidden hot springs… since we didn’t have a map it was hard to tell where exactly we were and how far we had to go.  So we continued on…

…and came to what appeared to be the end of the bear creek trail…so we took a right at the fork heading up north fork bear creek about an hour.  It was about 5 pm by now and there were no signs of the hot springs or any other kind of worthy camping spot… so we made an executive decision, decided to scrap the search for the hot springs, go back to that camp spot that had access to the creek and shelter, and buckle down for the night.  Did i mention it was overcast and raining?–perfect weather for hiking!

Backtracking we went, another hour to set up camp. We were starving by now and ate between the two of us, 6 MREs I think…

Read part two here.