Trail Difficulty – Moderate
Trail Type – Road/off-trail
Distance – 11.1 miles
Elevation Gain – 850 Feet
Camera in hand we headed out for Hike 14 and the Weekly Photo Challenge; Unfocused behind Rimrock Lake. For a perfectionist, this was a tough challenge.
Picking up where we left off last week, we were excited to meet our goal of 11 Miles in one day, the longest distance we will have to do on the Inca Trail. We did it, but only out of sheer will.
As a person who got winded going around the block 156 days ago – this was a huge accomplishment for me. Most of the adventure was not photographed – but it was our most exciting hike so far.
Heading out, we crossed a bridge with no clearance for walkers. This has happened before and we usually just stand still so the drivers can go around us.
A van with a two very creepy looking men went by – way too close and giving us the stink-eye. I swear the bumper sticker said ‘Serial Killers Inside’.
Moving to a side road, we heard voices and decided to investigate. Bypassing the rock climbers, we soon found ourselves overlooking the lake we had hiked around. It was breathtaking.
Due to some work commitments, we got a late start. The climb up the hill, and the slow descent, cost us even more time and energy. We started walking in earnest.
When I saw this butterfly, it looked like he was gazing at his shadow on the rock – he was not focused on anything else.
Turning on to another side road, we saw the van. My Poor Long-Suffering Husband, who is normally unshakable, expressed concern. We were in the middle of nowhere and had the heebie jeebies. The van had pulled off the forest road and into a meadow with a boggy pond.
Living in Serial Killer Central, the Pacific Northwest, it was hard not to think of Ted Bundy. Just as we were going to turn back, we heard it turn around.
It was coming back.
Heart pounding with the realization no one knew where we were, we ducked off the road and actually hid in the brambles.
Once they passed us, going way too slow in my opinion, we ran down the road – yes, ran. After short search for a body in the meadow they had pulled into to, we decided we needed to be a little closer to the main road and turned back.
Back on the main road, we were walking next to a very large hill covered in loose rocks. As we heard the sound of gravel spilling, we looked up – convinced we were going to be squashed. Then we saw the source of the mini-avalanche.
We were starting to lose light, but there was no way I was going to miss out on meeting my goal. We pushed on even harder.
That is when we heard the car – and a gunshot.
Frozen, I turned expecting to see the van, but it was a group of teenagers speeding and shooting off a .22; the barrel was sticking out the window. I am not sure which one of us looked more startled. No brambles this time, but the first chance we got we left the road and explored the shore.
I only relaxed when we heard them drive by again. The Poor Long-Suffering Husband picked up a handful of shells off the side of the road all day – apparently this is a common occurrence on the deserted lake road.
It was then that he saw the tick.
Great – that is all we need – Lyme Disease. I asked him to lift my shirt and check my back – sure enough, there was one in my shirt.
Screw the road, serial killers, and avalanches, and stupid kids – off came the shirt. Fortunately, no more ticks as I walked down the road undoing my braid and combing out my hair.
Finally we got back to the car and I was crushed to see that we were two miles short. So passing the car, we walked another mile – that is when I saw it. Quite possibly the coolest tree ever.
The light was leaving and back at the car I was still half a mile short. I passed it again.
My Poor Long-Suffering Husband gave up and sat in the car as I circled the campground. While walking I was playing with my camera trying to get an unfocused shot for the challenge.
Tired, I turned it off, hit 11 miles and got in the car. Taking off my boots, I discovered why my feet hurt so bad. I had blisters between my toes.
Heading home, sedated from exhaustion, I almost didn’t see the deer in the road. Grabbing my camera as it trotted into the forest, I took my shot. The camera still had the unfocused settings, so here it is – my unfocused shot of a deer.
We made it – alive, exhausted, and hungry. I was surprised to see that we gained 850 feet, but the important thing is that I made the 11 miles. Next week we will start working on an elevation goal – hopefully the van won’t return.
I can’t wait to see what happens next week.