A Weekend Hike up the Little Horn Canyon

tllitDay 1

Today was the big 50K Big Horn Trail run. I parked at the trail head parking lot and hiked a few hundred yards up a two track. It was pretty crazy and I had no idea where the trail actually was with all the tents, vehicles, trailers etc. I ended up having to ask someone where the Little Horn Trail started.

Kye had her pack on and got of compliments as we meandered through the myriad of runners.

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Kye in her stylish pack with a view down the canyon

The trail followed the river for a few miles, mostly staying above it, but coming within a few feet of it on a couple of occasions. We took these opportunities to cool off and refill water.

The one and only water refill I did was at our first river stop. We had crossed so many springs and seeps that I didn’t think of refilling again at the second stop or when crossing the next creek. This was a pretty big mistake on my part and while the water lasted to within a mile of the next water source I had rationed it as much as possible, and Kye and I were both pretty thirsty by the time we reached Wagon Box Creek…that water was SO good. It was definitely our salvation.

Very little notable on the trail except for the small garter or grass snake I almost sat on and the amazing land slide area across the canyon near to where I camped for the night. The trail runners had pretty much disappeared by noon and a bunch of people were packing down bags of garbage…that looked like a lot of work. I also ran into a few backpackers, one of whom happened to round the bend just as I was done peeing and pulling my pants up…I honestly think he was more embarrassed than me; no one on the trail for an hour and then when I got to pee, THEN there’s someone walking by!!!

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The garter snake (I think) that both Kye and I stepped right over. It didn’t even move.

I also realize I brought too much food….again…but the decision to go stoveless was a good one. I am enjoying the lighter weight of my pack.

Kye and I camped just above Wagon Box Creek, in a sheltered (mostly) alcove, so I do ‘t have to worry about water. I had an amazing view and a little fire pit…it was too breezy for a fire, but maybe Sunday evening.

Tomorrow I plan to leave my tent and sleeping bag behind and hike up and back with just water and food. My pack isn’t really designed for such a small load, but I will make do since there’s no point in packing it all up.

Day 2

I had added strips of silicone to the underside of my sleeping pad, and even though I still don’t care for the pad the silicone kept the pad in place in the tent, and underneath me, and I managed to get a pretty good night of sleep. I had my beanie on and pulled down over my eyes so I didn’t wake up until 7:30am. I hadn’t realized how badly I had oriented the doors of the tent until the sun rose through the opening, blinding me even with the beanie over my face.

As decided yesterday I left much stuff behind, but I did pack it away since I was a little worried someone might come along and like the look of my gear. The problem with ultra-light tents and sleeping bags is that they come with a hefty price tag, and I didn’t want all that money walking off the mountain without me.

With just a few snacks and some water Kye and I continued to hike up the mountain for another mile, where I thought the trail split and came back together as they often do. Well, I was wrong, and I ended up taking the wrong fork. I studied the map and returned to the ford of the creek but there was no way I was crossing the raging torrent without water shoes or a companion. I’m not even sure Kye would have crossed it safely either, even without her pack.

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Looking down the valley. Camp was opposite where the landslide area is on the right side

With that route a no-go I had no where else to hike and made the decision to hike back to camp, pack up and hike the 10 miles back to the car.

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Beautiful raging creek. They had purposefully leveled this area as a fording place for horses

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This was the people and dog-crossing for the creek.

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Quite the log jam

I was definitely exhausted upon arrival at the car at 5pm, but it was definitely a worthwhile weekend of backpacking.

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