Sunday, December 15, 2019

The Hike, A Triology: Part One

One of the Polaris side by sides needs some work. Since I'm by myself normally I would have taken the truck with a trials bike in the back to town, driven the trials bike back to get the side by side, then driven it to town, dropped it at Mad Bro, got wood, and brought the truck back. Though two of the three trials bikes started up Friday after months of inactivity I hadn't gotten to take them out for a good test to see if they had issues.I thought maybe I'd do that on Saturday.

I woke up Saturday morning and when I checked the weather forecast it said 50's today and 30's after that. I'd rather drive the side by side in the 50's than the 30's so things changed. I needed a good hike so I'll drive the side by side in and hike back. I called Mad Bro and they said they close at noon. It was almost 11am. I grabbed a pack off the wall, jacket, and one canteen, jumped in the Polaris and headed for town. While driving I realized I probably couldn't hike 17 miles by the time it got dark. If I took the Amasa Back Cliffhanger trail, up to Jackson Ladder I could come down the ladder and hike back from Jackson Hole. Maybe 12 miles instead of 17 and I didn't want to hike the road I'd driven hundreds of times.

When Mad Bro dropped me off at the Cliffhanger Jeep and bicycle trailhead the sky was a little gloomy but I had a rain jacket and rain pants in the pack so I felt good and one canteen should be enough. It wasn't 50, somewhere in the 40s, but not bad. Click on the pictures to make them larger.

The trail was a little more beat up than I remember and I hadn't hiked it's entirety in four or five years. Four people went by me on bicycles and that's all I saw all afternoon and evening. Looking back at the trailhead I could see the parking lot and the Tombstones where they base jump from.

As the elevation keeps increasing and the trail gets worse I can see the road I had driven a few hours earlier on the right canyon wall. I come to a placement direction marker. It's 2:30pm. It will be completely dark at 5:30pm. I look at the "You are here" smiley face. I still have to hike out to Jackson Ladder, descend down it into Jackson Hole, hike out to the river, and then taking every short cut I know it's five more miles if I can cut through the property to Last Hurrah. If it gets dark before I get there, skip the Last Hurrah short cut and add a dark mile. I'm not going to make it by dark.

I call Heather to let her know where I am and where I'm headed in case issues arrive. Right after I hang up the phone battery goes dead. I look in the pack and the headlamp is not there or the rescue beacon, or any of the first aid stuff I have to keep me alive if bad things happen. The three packs on the wall have all that stuff but I grabbed an hour day pack when I went out the door. It's sprinkling and a cold wind has come up.

On some Jeep trails they have work a rounds. If the road is just too difficult, creative, also sometimes called desperate, drivers look for alternative routes that are easier than the problem spot. The next three pictures are work a rounds the bicycle riders have made to make the trail for them more difficult.

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