After the dryout of the desert, the climb into the mountains of The Modoc was a welcome re-acquaintance. Our destination was a deserted but well appointed campground nestled into the tall Ponderosas. A stellar loop hike took us past subalpine lakes, through torched forests, and finally, a late evening bushwhack back to camp through the roughest country of the day!
Two hours hard hiking had brought us to the noxious-named Poison Creek. As Becca and I split a government cheese coated wheat plank, Denver lapped at the cold waters. He was soon to develop a malaise that lasted for days, and though we never got a straight answer from him, we both figured it could have been from that cruddy little flow.
After our turn at Poison Flats, the Mill Creek drainage began showing evidence of a burn. Soon we were walking through the wasted stickscape of a recent fire that had swept all before it. The two year old undergrowth (a thick carpet of what’s known as Mountain Misery) positively glowed green against the carbon black of the ruined forest. The fire had taken even the soil itself in patches.
As the day wore on and the miles passed underfoot, we ran out of trail at the expected point. We were about a mile and a half straight-line from the trailer, but between there and here were gullies, washes and a waterfall to cross. We gamely crunched through the brush and through the tangled deadfall, climbing for a sighting on where we might best find our way.
Finally we heard the faint whisper of what could only be a distant waterfall. We tracked toward the noise until we stood on a crest, with the roar below. A final 100′ scramble down the bluff and a wet-footed crossing across the creek meant we were close. We picked our way through the dark until the trailer appeared over the rise. A welcome sight, and we were home for another night!