Saturday, May 5, 2012

Monday May 31, 2010
Camp 30: Gallina River Trail beneath the Aspen

We both slept horribly last night, tossing and turning until the sun appeared.  We shared our crazy dreams and I am now a true believer that there are spirits in that canyon.  I can't explain it as I've never experienced it before but we were both glad to pack up and hike.  We started out slow as Eric's knee is badly swollen and he is unable to bend his leg.  We continued up the unmaintained river trail trying to follow the markings and cut logs.  It crossed the river several times, overgrown and impossible to keep track of.  The canyon became very narrow and both sides were extremely steep.  The trail, of course, was nowhere to be found.  I stumbled upon something that resembled a trail and we followed it for awhile before it disappeared.  We decided we had to get on top and out of the canyon so we hiked among the Aspens, straight up the mountain for about 2,000 vertical feet.  It was insane.  A few rocks slid, thundering down the mountainside and my heart nearly stopped.  I looked back, sure Eric had fallen, but instead there he was hobbling up the side of this mountain, dragging his leg along.  I had to smile as the whole scene was a bit unbelievable and at this point there was nothing left to do but laugh.  We finally reached the top and sat silently on a log.  I reached for the whiskey and we shared a shot with the mountain.  Cheers to respecting Mother Nature and the mountain.  We proceeded on our adventure staying on top of the ridge and quickly realized a massive storm had blown down thousands of trees.  We stared in disbelief at the uninviting maze before us.  We crept through the woods, climbing, or in Eric's case, dragging ourselves over the trees.  This goes on for miles.  The GPS reports that we are 1.8 miles from the San Jose Trail.  After all that we had only traveled about 1.3 miles as the crow flies, from our camp this morning.  Unreal.  5 hours and 2,000 feet later and we aren't any closer to getting out of this mess.  We continued on, exhausted and finally found our trail within the hour.  The San Jose Trail was like a superhighway compared to the path we had been on.  We hiked at 9,000 feet so there were still snow fields and the trail is really muddy and wet, but hey, no complaints here. 

We stopped a bit early tonight at a great camping spot beneath the beautiful Aspens.  We built a fire and had some warm food.  Great for the body and soul after the past few days.  So our adventure continues in the morning, hopefully after a good nights rest.

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