Our third hitch will remain in my memory as our best hitch yet. I felt finally accustomed to the “routine” of being on hitch—the weight of the didn’t feel so heavy anymore, bush whacking was no longer a daunting task, etc. We started out the hitch all together plus Amy and headed to Sylvester Lake. The hike was a very steep two or three miles on a not so definitive trail and therefore, took us the entire day. The following morning, we had a fun hike around the perimeter of the lake and inventoried quite a few sites before heading down.
For the next few nights, we split off into several teams: Amy, Nate, and Caitlin ventured over to Spirit Lake. Kenny and Levi headed up Iron Creek trail and then inventoried Beverly Turnpike trail, before hiking out on Ingalls trail. Jess, Eric, Austin, and I also headed up Iron Creek, but split off from the other group to inventory Fourth Creek, Hardscabble, Cascade Creek, and Falls Creek. On our second day, Jess and I hiked down Fourth Creek while the guys took off down Hardscrabble. The two trails ran parallel to each other and intersected with Ingalls, where we planned on meeting up that evening. Fourth Creek turned out to be an easy 4 miles of well-traversed, gently sloping trail.
Hardscrabble on the other hand, earned its namesake: the guys lost the trail quite a bit and ended up having to do some bush whacking. Things got a little hairy the next day when we attempted to go up Cascade Creek, but found no safe way to cross the creek. With most of the day still ahead of us, we hiked over to the Falls Creek trail and began hiking. We did not get very far: Eric, jarred from the previous day’s experience on Hardscrabble, decided he did not want to hike and was going to go back to the car, some 6 miles away. This was totally weird and we weren’t sure what to do. We made the decision to hike out with him, a day earlier than we planned.
While Eric took a day to calm down, Levi joined up on our team for the last part of the hitch: an amazing loop through Deadhorse Pass to the Grace Lakes, then along Frosty Pass to the Chain Lakes, and then out via White Pine Trail. This loop had some incredible mountain views! Likewise, Grace Lake was gorgeous—minus the bugs. Our trek went smoothly until we met up with White Pine: the trail was so overgrown and the vegetation so thick that we had were hiking until dark. It was pretty challenging, but we were laughing and in good spirits the whole time.