At 5:30 this morning it was still pitch black. Autumn is well underway and it makes me want to get north as soon as possible. Tradja drove us to the Elk Lake trail head and we began ascending into the clouds. The ground was damp which made for good walking but soon it began to drizzle and it hasn’t let up all day. When I stopped to put on my borrowed jacket Lucky Joe, Samurai Joe and Two Dogs caught up and for a while there we were in a convoy of seven hikers. After a little while those three, who have been on trail in the rain for the last few days, went on ahead. Moving fast to keep warm.
At Rigatoni’s request I came up with a suitable word to convert WIRD to Weather Induced Extra Rest Day. A WIERD. I also came up with a team name. Heaps of Rumbling Noodles a.k.a. Team Horn.
The rain wasn’t as cold as it could have been. We passed some small snow patches but I didn’t put on my gloves until the afternoon.
We started crossing lava fields and with the constant grey mist, basalt rubble and green lichen it felt very much like the Tongariro Crossing. We spent a while debating one un-signed junction, even to the point of going the right way, going back and trying the wrong way, then setting off on the right way again. Not a great thing to do when poor Angelhair was getting dangerously cold. She only said it once but I could see her shivering and it getting worse. I admire her for not losing it and giving up. Anyone who has come this far has to be a pretty determined sort of person so I wasn’t surprised really.
Now I’m in my tent again. I haven’t put up the inside this time. Using the cord I prepared back home I set up the poles and dropped the outer cover over the top. It gives me more room to maneuver inside, though still not much and there is no proper floor. It’s a bit colder than the full set up, but I trust my sleeping bag.
We’ve all got our fingers crossed for sun tomorrow.
More photos of this day’s journey can be found at Bend to Little Crater LakeDistance today: 22.5 miles. Total distance: 1981.8 miles