Our mileage for the day was getting longer now that we were used to our packs, used to the terrain, and used to the groove of things. Usually it will take a day or two to adjust to a backpacking trip, especially if you had a long days travel before getting to mile zero of your trip. Melody and I ended up getting through 8.86 miles this day, with a few hundred feet drop and climb. Ideally we were falling the elevation to keep from climbing up and down as much as possible, but that changed by the end of the day. Story to come.
We started the day like I always start it, peak outside to see if the light was good for any shots during “golden” hour. Unfortunately for this morning, there were too many clouds blocking the horizon to give us any good colors in the sky, but the weather is definitely something we appreciate coming from the arid conditions of Southern California. Our morning tent setup.
After I cooked a bit of oatmeal, I got Melody up to eat breakfast.
Yum, yum in Melody’s tum.
And as I cleaned up, a family photo was due!
After breakfast, we packed up our bags and headed out. Here is a view of Turquoise Lake, with the clouds still very heavy up on the mountains. One of the reasons why we didn’t climb on glaciers was our energy level, but another was due to this weather on the mountain tops.
And we off, trailblazing and route finding.
We ended up finding a watering hole around a half mile down, where there were a bunch of bird activity. I had taken my 400mm on this trip, expecting a little more time to shoot so I took this opportunity to get a few photos. But soon, this little gull ended up pestering us, diving at our heads. Probably being a little territorial.
And what looks like a stilt, at the time I was not really interested in identifying the species. I will need to go back and look at the Birds of North America and check these birds off the list.
And another, maybe a warbler, sitting in the branches.
After around a 45 minute break, we set off again. Below is a view of the watering hole that we stopped at, and the first time we saw some wildlife during our trip.
Melody walking on the tundra, where the ground is very diverse and fertile.
Our little wildlife oasis.
And back into the clouds.
We passed by the mouth of Turquoise Lake, with some pretty dramatic clouds framing the lake.
And we headed toward our first water crossing. Melody wanted to avoid it, so we ended up walking along the stream for the time being.
Smile! Also taking some time to get a few photos of her.
Attempting to avoid getting our feet wet, tip toeing on the rocks.
But eventually we were forced to cross, where I ended up crossing first to carry the bags and then head back to help Melody as well. But when she got the hang of it, I ended up taking a few photos!
The first, and worst river crossing of that day.
Another break, after the crossing. It was pretty tough to get through, making sure we could get our footing and not fall. We also ended up taking off our shoes to cross, so we would have some warm and dry shoes to walk in afterwards.
And a few more rivers to ford, draining out of the lakes of Lake Clark.
And another stream, it seemed like they were just branching out in every which direction.
And our last river crossing of the day, at least this one wasn’t as strong and large as that last one.
After the river crossing, we thought we would be home free. Ultimately we wanted to get to the beach of Twin Lake, our final destination, but things soon turned for the worse. We were hugging the elevation and keeping straight until we reached a point where Melody needed to tie her shoe. I ended up seeing a grizzly bear in the distance around 100 yards away, and told Melody.
She thought I was joking until she looked up. The bear ended up being intrigued, not knowing what it was seeing and slowly started approaching us. Melody and I ended up talking to the bear, telling it to go away. I told Melody to not make sudden movements or turn away from it just in case. Then suddenly it started trotting towards us and was spooked when it was within 20 feet of us and ran away. This really scared Melody and she really wanted to find shelter and sleep right away. This was definitely a crazy experience and unfortunately we lost our bear spray a few days earlier. But studying what to do during these animal encounters and really trying to execute the strategies of previous experiences helped us get out of this situation unscathed and fortunately alive as well. Melody ended up looking to make the most distance, and started going down in elevation.
So we found a pretty flat area good for camping, and made a bee line there. The weather was beginning to become wet and rainy as well.
And Melody didn’t have time or wanted to wait up. Instead we set up a point to reach and setup camp. It began to storm soon after, and I ended up trying to comfort Melody. But we ended up falling asleep in our perceived security of our tent, although I knew that these thin fabric walls wouldn’t prevent anything from coming in.