Mt. Henry Lookout (170.2) to Yaak (184)
Although today was mostly downhill for me it was quite a demanding hike. I started around 8am together with Cheeto and Fartbag. We had a couple hundred yards together before they would head east and I west. We said goodbye to our nice mountain cabin and left it a lot cleaner than we found it.
I hopped on the Vinal Creek Trail and was surprised about the steep downhill. Now I could understand why the other two hikers had been so exhausted the night before. What I hiked down would be a horrible climb. After about an hour my feet were all wet again from the dripping overgrowth.
I descended probably around 4000ft until the trail led me into a gorge with a small river. Fartbag had told me about a bridge where I could fill up water and when I found a bridge I did so. Just when I had my backpack back on two guys with a group of girls hiked past. It looked like a school event. We chatted for a while until they went further towards a nearby lake for fishing. Hiking on I was wondering how quick all this girls had climbed over the mountain into the gorge. For me it would be around 2000ft up from now. But the trail didn’t start climbing! I checked my position and indeed I must have taken a wrong turn even before the bridge. The trail I was on right now would lead to Yaak as well. It was even shorter and avoided the big climb. But I was angry at myself and I wanted to be on the PNT and so I turned around. Ten minutes later I stood where I had missed the turn off and went from there. Mad at myself I was steaming up the mountainside. The climb was tough and took a long time. Nearly at the summit I stopped for a short lunch break. I had a tortilla filled with two string cheeses and some beef cherky. Hopefully enough to get me further up and down the mountain.
The trail was often hard to find and in some places hikers had build stonemen to point into the right direction. Thanks for that! Being wrong one time was enough for one day! I crossed over the saddle between two mountains and started descending still busy with routefinding. It was a lot of downhill and when the trail descended into a proper forest I crossed a few old forest roads. The last forest road was better and the trail joined it towards paved Upper Ford Road that would lead into Yaak.
I had thought earlier about skipping Yaak and just hiking on in favor of getting more miles done. Cheeto and Fartbag had told me about a trail angel living next to the church. The Canadians had camped in his yard the night before. The church and also Randy’s place weren’t much off trail and so I gave it a try.
Randy invited me to some lemonade and gave me a fresh orange. He showed me his yard and the woodshed where I could set up my tent. I decided to stay. Randy was in preparation for an arts and crafts exhibition at the school. It turned out that Yaak celebrated the 4th of July on the following Saturday, so tomorrow. I joined Randy for the eight mile ride into town where he wanted to get some stuff organized. Afterwards we went to the shop and to the tavern. I wanted to avoid spending money again but once there I couldn’t resist and ordered a burger. It was delicious! The “Mouna Kea” burger had a grilled pineapple on. Yummy!!
As soon as we were back and I had camp completely set up a thunderstorm rolled in and it started to rain heavily. The woodshed wasn’t 100% waterproof but most of my tent is still dry. It turned out to be a good decision to stay in Yaak!