If you don’t enjoy a good tale of a weekend of outdoor adventure to include bushwhacking, creek crossings, and countless miles of uphill hiking with two adorable dogs and a stupendous partner, then stop reading right now. If you are still reading, you are pretty rad
This past weekend my handsome and equally adventurous boyfriend and I decided to head for the hills. We needed a break from our cell phones and technology in general, so we decided to head into the Shoshone National Forest and specifically into the Washakie Wilderness.
After a Friday evening of walleye fishing (by him; I get my resident license next week!!!), Deer Creek Trail was our destination Saturday morning. After a leisurely morning of prepping and packing, we hit the trail with two rambunctious doggies and a yearning to simply be with nature.
We trekked uphill for about 4-5 miles the first day before deciding we didn’t have the energy to make the first big creek crossing that same day. This was going to be my first time sleeping outside of a tent, so I was anxious and excited as we started creating out lean-to shelter out of the two tarps and cord we packed in. Oh, and did I mention we had already seen a crap load of bear sign (tracks and scat) throughout the day?
After a simple meal of soup, crackers, and trail mix over a perfect fire, all four of us hit the hay. Well, to be fair, I am pretty sure both dogs were up most of the night patrolling the perimeter of the camp
The next day brought my biggest creek crossing to date. Ok, let’s get real here, this dang thing was not your average creek; it was a snowpack melt fueled raging river! There was absolutely no way any of us but Brian was going to make it through the crossing where the trail normally goes, so we had to bushwhack through downed trees, raspberry bushes, and crazy poking shrubbery to get to a better spot to attempt our first of four crossings for the day (2 up the valley & the same 2 to get back to our campsite).
We got down to the water’s edge and it become very apparent that the water would easily come up to mid-thigh for me. Having packed light with only one pair of pants each, we both decided to shed our pants. Yep, you read that right; I crossed streams and then hiked several miles in my underwear (nope, no pictures)! Now, mind you we saw zero other people this weekend and there’s really only one way in or out of the area right now due to snow (as we would discover later in the day).
I was beyond nervous as we began the crossing because my beloved Sydney has NEVER done such a thing. In my mind, I kept seeing him pulled downstream away from me, but as he got deeper and deeper into the rushing waters, instinct took over. He took every crossing like a natural; it was as if my little boy was made to be a mountain running, creek crossing, hiking dog
As we traversed mountain sides, we saw obvious signs of past avalanches to include a large snowpack with tons of debris. After our second creek crossing, which was much easier and mellower than the first, we finally got a view of our destination, Deer Creek Pass. At this point, it became very clear that our attempt to cross the pass and peak into the infamous Thorofare would be thwarted by massive amounts of snow.
We decided that since there would be no summit and we would have to hike back the 6+ miles we had just hiked with only slightly lightened packs, there would be no going further. As we headed back for our campsite, we took our time to completely take in our surroundings while enjoying the peace and quiet of the outdoors.
Our final creek crossing of the day had me feeling comfortable enough to stand in the water long enough to ensure both dogs got to the other side (Pup started to float down river a bit before I grabbed her collar).
Both Sydney and Pup were so tired that they didn’t want to move while we were building our fire and cooking supper. Poor Syd was so exhausted he was shaking and limping on one of his paws.
While I was starting to freak out aand figure out how we would pack him out the next day, Brian remained calm and reassured me that Syd is a strong dog and would be ok. However, he did say that if Sydney wasn’t better in the morning, he would simply carrying Sydney out on his back. How can you not love a man who would do that for the dog that has been your life for years?!
During out hike out, which was thankfully almost all downhill, I reflected on the great days we had spent in this gorgeous place that we call home. Trips like this one help bring about a sense of calm within me while reassuring me that this is truly where I belong!