I woke up and cooked. breakfast was a packet of oatmeal and coffee. I started up the creel valley, going south. The creek climbed and shrank. We gained 500 feet of elevation, then 1000, then 1500. The creek bed disappeared. I climbed higher. It became colder. the brush gave way to grass and moss as the range we climbed steepened, then rocks. The last 400 feet were almost sheer. I crested the Mt. Galen range with a 20 foot climb of steep scree. Sarah followed after a few minutes. So did the rain.
We sat and ate and planned. The fog set in immediately, visibility was limited to 100 feet. This made choosing a path down the ridge system difficult. I caught a glimpse of the the river and the valley floor below us before visibility was lost completely. I decided to follow the ridge, where the terrain was clear, to what appeared to be a series of plateaus on the topographic map. I told Sarah we might have to turn back as we try to find a route down. It was the late afternoon, but we were only 6 miles from the road, and I wanted to make it out. We followed the ridge into the fog.
Visibility dropped to 20 feet. The ridge line turned to a series of cliffs. We came to a point where it looked like a plank off a cliff. Too dangerous. I turned back and found a game trail and followed it. Trails usually don't go off cliffs. We walked and turned and planned for an hour. I hoped my compass was working.
We lost the trail but found grass. It became warmer. We were going lower. This is good. Rocks and cliffs became steep moss fields. We climbed down a creek bed, maybe a foot wide. Vegetation grew taller as we walked. Knee high, waist high, head high, above the head. 9pm. Follow the creek bed, follow the compass. Trudge, tear, trip, call for bears. Is Sarah behind me? Is she ok? Trudge on. Slide through the alders and cottonwood. Wipe the rain from your face. Look up to see if the fog has cleared.
The creek bed grew and finally, finally, joined another, larger creek. Moose Creek. This is good. Follow Moose Creek for 2 miles where to turns from west to north, .5 miles from the road. We walk along the gravel bar. No brush. Excellent. 10:45om. Sarah, we are .5 miles from the road. Hmm… There are no buses this late. We camped. Soaking wet. Dinner was fancy ramen, dried sausage, cheese.
Later that night. Deep sleep.
"Caz, I think there is something outside"
I remove the pistol from under my pistol, listen with extreme care. Five minutes. Nothing.
"Sarah, I don't think it's a big one."