Fish Creek trail: Iva Bell to Minnow Creek Trail Junction
Mornings come early in the back-country. You go to sleep at sundown and rise with the sun. Gannon loves this way of life as he is often quoting Ben Franklin. “Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise”. We are up and out of the tent by 5:45 am starting our morning chores. Coffee is the first on the list! We have one of my favorite breakfasts today….cheesy instant mashed potatoes with bacon bits. Yum! We are working on a morning routine, but it takes us until 9:00 to get back on the trail.
A hard climb up and over a mountain was on the agenda for the day. The weather is nice and cool with some cumulus clouds scattering the sky. Off in the distance we see some foreboding ones. We are hoping they will somehow miss us and are going another direction. We are enjoying such beautiful, majestic scenery today. God’s handiwork is just amazing! Rivers, creeks, and waterfalls over big granite slabs. We have our first hot lunch of the trip next to one of these waterfalls. Top ramen with dehydrated veggies and chicken. Yes, it’s the chicken I dehydrated. It was well worth the longer lunch break. A hot meal does wonders for the body and soul!
We enter a big, deep valley with a mixture of pines, cottonwoods, ferns, and wildflowers. As we walk, periodically we click our poles together in front of us to let anything out there know that we are coming. Click, click…click, click. We see bear tracks in the trail with some scratches on the trees. We know they are out there somewhere. I have mixed feelings on seeing a bear. It would be exciting to see one, but scary if it is not on the bear’s terms. I am normally in the lead, as I seem to set a good pace that we both like. But several times, I make Gannon take the lead, because I am just too creeped out by the bushes being so thick on the trail. You can’t see what is on the other side of them or sometimes what’s under them. I am also thinking about ticks. Ticks are actually what I fear the most out here. Soo gross!
The rain starts at 1:00 pm. We hear thunder first and now know it’s coming our way. We keep hiking, thinking it will pass soon. NOT! We have to take cover under a couple of big trees. We remove our packs and put our poles away from us, in case the lightning comes closer. After a 30 min wait, we decide to put on our rain gear and proceed down the trail. A young guy in a rain poncho is coming towards us. It’s the first person we have seen all day. He asks for a Band-Aid and an antiseptic wipe. He’s hurt his finger somehow. Being the planner that I am, I have both on hand. He is on his way to Iva Bell. We wish him a good hike and keep going. Another young guy passes us and that is it for the rest of the day.
At the trail junction for the minnow creek trail we stop to reassess our situation. Do we take the course we have plotted or change to the route I had originally planned? We walk back and forth scouting the trail (in the rain) trying to figure out what will be best. We decide to stay the course. To stay the course means a water crossing. Going in the water with our pants rolled up and flip-flops on. Once we stop moving, the mosquitoes are all over us. We are now sporting our head nets to complete our ensemble.
Across the creek and through some trees, there is an established campsite. It’s now 3:30 pm with no sign of the rain letting up. We decide to make camp for the night and make a decision on what route to take in the morning.
This is not my favorite campsite and I name it “creepy campsite”. It is wet, cold, dark and just feels creepy to me. We have seen no one else today and I start thinking that if someone or something decided to kill us out here, no one would know. On the contrary, Gannon loves this site….no people for miles! The rain lets up around 6:00 pm.
We are able to cook dinner and do some nighttime chores before it gets dark. At 9:00 pm, our day is done. He sleeps well, I barely sleep.