METAKROME

Personal Website for TED HENRY

Consistent with the weather forecast I heard the occasional pitter patter of fat rain drops during the night and the wind was still blowing. It wasn’t a problem, especially since the temperature drop got rid of the pesky Yellowjackets. Not that it was cold or anything. After breakfast I grabbed my pack and headed to the basalt layered cake to see what I could find. Besides being grey it was a fine day to be hiking and looking at details. As you know, there were numerous small wildflowers here and there, mostly in the lower spots.

Another Holly Rock

Another Holly Rock

After climbing up two layers of rimrock to the top of a long skinny mesa I found a location for a Holly rock that I liked and noted the gps coordinates. This is where things got tricky. It’s easier going up than down and I was having trouble finding a good spot to descend. Obviously I chose poorly and partway down a slab peeled away and down I went, landing hard on my left side right onto a pointed chunk of basalt. I rolled over and was stunned for a bit. Soon I got up and started finding which parts that were hurting were just temporary and which weren’t. Yeah I had some bleeding scratches but they were of no concern. But I knew as soon as I landed that I probably broke some ribs. Yeah, it was a major hurt. I got up and started down the grassy slope looking for my new NCNP goat hat that blew off downhill. Oh the irony, a goat hat. I found it easy enough hiding in the sage. Then I shuffled down to the sandy two-track holding my left arm carefully at my side. Walking back the half mile to the truck wasn’t bad but I knew my trip was over. The next days plan to go petrified wood prospecting was now a laughable idea. At the truck I popped some Tylenol (I had opiates along but needed to be able to drive), loaded the passenger seat with food and headed for home. Thankfully I had a full tank of fuel and the drive proved to be short and easy.

Once home I left the truck still packed, headed to the first shower in a week, and planted myself on my good side on the couch, which is where I stayed for the next three days. I felt pretty icky those three days but things improved a lot after that. I broke ribs in a mountain bike crash years ago so I know the drill. I didn’t need it this time, but maybe I should reactivate my Spot Satellite Messenger before another solo trip out of cellular range. If I had broke a leg in that fall I could have been in trouble. I had no cell service at Harts Pass, Slate Peak, Eight Mile Creek, Goat Peak, or at Drumheller Channels. Just on the major highways and while passing through small towns.

THE WRAP UP

While the scenery was world class and the camping excellent, the best part was the amazing people I met along the way. As a group the thru hikers are intelligent, humorous, and engaging. The locals I met in Winthrop were very friendly and helpful in the manner of small towns back in the 50’s. It was refreshing. As with previous trips, I returned home refreshed and invigorated. It is healthful for me to sit out in the forest among the trees and not have any electronics intruding into my train of thought. I only had one night where I could get radio reception and that turned out to be a delightful old fashioned community station in Winthrop.

All my gear worked fine and it should since my trips the previous two years have worked out all the kinks. My off-road version 4runner continues to exceed my expectations. I cannot imagine a better vehicle for the trips that I have taken these last three years. There is one thing I really need to add to my kit though. Mouse traps!. I had one night at Harts Pass where a rodent drove me nuts all night, scampering back and forth over the roof and making loud chewing noises underneath. I got up several times but could not drive it away. I fully expected to find a packrat nest in the engine bay, or chewed wiring underneath in the morning. But nope, everything looked fine.

The thru hiking couple Russel and Mackenzie that I helped out a little bit came by recently for a visit and to pick up the excess gear I took off their hands. I hardly recognized them in their freshly shaved and cleaned state. They are such characters. Mackenzie is like a Wonderhussy clone (of Youtube fame). I was hardly shocked to find out they participate in Burning Man. I wish I had thought to have her put on the Wonderhussy sunglasses for a photo. They rented out their house in Burien for the winter and are living in a huge converted van. They were on their way to Northern Arizona for the winter and looking for a new place to live.

I still want to go back to the Drumheller Channels to find the right basalt columns and get up on top of Sentinel Mountain, but not this year. By the time my ribs heal up, daylight and good weather will have withered away. After having such a good time at Hart Pass I could see making a trip next year during wildflower season, although wildflowers usually means mosquitos. There is still a lot of this state I have not seen, so who knows what plans I will cook up during the winter.

After muddling along in the fog of long covid for the preceding seven months I’m amazed and grateful that I recovered enough to make this trip.