Wednesday, August 31
We had a leisurely morning. As our hike out would only take three hours (or a bit less, perhaps), we weren’t in any particular hurry.
I told Gordon that it wasn’t a marmot that ate my stuff. He told me he was visited by a squirrel that was trying to get into his things. He managed to shoo it away. I wondered if I shooed it towards him, or he towards me, or both. Pesky squirrel. I really do hope it got a bad case of the runs.
When I was packing up, I noticed that he’d gone after my backpack, too. He ate the zipper pulls on two of the pockets and devoured about half the mesh. Surely this is a sign of malice rather than a desire for salt. I really don’t sweat all over the zipper pulls.
Squirrel Damage Assessment
I’ve been saying for years that, for every situation, there’s either a Star Trek quote or a Monty Python quote that is apt. I’m tempted here to use “That rabbit’s dynamite!” from the Holy Grail and substitute “squirrel” for “rabbit”. Instead, I’ll go back to World War II and BDA: Bomb Damage Assessment. While my antagonist squirrel may be as vicious as Monty Python’s Rabbit of Caerbannog, it never tried to decapitate me, even though it was well within range. In the aftermath of our encounter, I am left to assess the damage.
The poles are the type that you twist to tighten to the proper length. I’ve never been happy with them and would have preferred to get the ones that use a cam. I guess this is an opportunity to upgrade. Meanwhile, I’ll see if I can find somebody to mend the packs.
The deeper question is: How do I prevent this from happening again (apart from never camping at Dutch Town)? My tent is too small to store all my belongings in it. I’d really rather not spray all my belongings with coyote piss or the like.
There was at least one healthy doe that frequented the area around our camp. I spotted a doe five or six times. It may have been the same one every time, maybe there was more than one. She went by my tent that first night.
The air traffic was pretty annoying. Even in the wilderness, it’s everpresent. But here it was loud. They went right over us. I decided I should time them the night before. I noted the time of the next one: 7:09. Didn’t hear another plane for half an hour when a two-engine propellor plane went over. So at least they weren’t so bad at night. Then two came over at about 6 am that were really low, just to remind us they were still there.
Just as we left the Ditch, a pickup truck when by on the service road. Water Supply & Storage Company. Those guys have owned the Ditch since 1891. They operate a vast system of canals and reservoirs in the Poudre River valley.
Now that I know the route, I think it’s possible Lake of the Clouds is within my day hiking range. It would certainly be an easy hike with a single-night stay at Dutch Town. We were back to camp early enough we could have packed up and hiked out on Tuesday.
The mosquitoes were not nearly as bad as at Upper Ouzel Creek. I finally did apply some bug spray at one point, but I wouldn’t have been terribly upset had I forgotten to bring it.
We saw no other hikers until we got within a quarter mile of the Colorado River. I don’t doubt Foster’s word that that Lake of the Clouds is the most visited destination in the area. This indicates that, if you’re seeking solitude, the Never Summer Mountains are the place to go.