We Sleep in a Fraternity!

By October 23, 2019 November 1st, 2019 Campsites, Excursions

With the day dawning bright, clear and cold, we left the plains behind and veered north, up the Lost River Valley.  The Lost River Range and the state’s highest peaks were holding the sky to the east, and the snow-capped White Knob Mountains were west. With the afternoon upon us, we decided to spend the night at Phi Kappa Campground, on the dirt road between Mackay and Sun Valley.

Set back from the road with only a couple of absent hunter’s tents for our company, the campground bordered a brush-choked bog, riddled with channels and beaver build outs.  As the day waned over the White Knobs to the south, I walked through the half frozen slush til I  had two wet tennies and some great shots of the autumnal brush.

The temps hovered in the mid-20’s as I poked through the weeds for solid footholds.  Thin ice laced the borders of the beaver moats, and the quieting blanket of the evening kept even the songbirds silent.

Dawn broke in the low teens, but with a critical mod I had put in place for our heating system, we now had clear pipes and no worries!  I ventured out in the morning’s dull glow, making enough racket to ward off the itchy trigger fingers of any drunken hunters in the area.

An ice matrix was still forming over the beaver ponds, but I didn’t dare use the frozen pathways the dog scampered down.  Way too cold for wet shoes.

We breakfasted, then set off down the road a short ways for a 1/2 mile hike up a ravine to the rumored falls.  Bear tracks in the snow showed there were blackies with cubs in the area,  but with our defender Denver in the lead, we set off across the half frozen creek under distant whisper of tumbling water.

The creek’s water seemed to be in its own ice tube as it fell out of the mountain crack.

The A team kept their eyes peeled towards the craggy canyon rim 50′ above, while I dallied in the frozen pools, trying to get a good shot of some cocktail-sized ice cube formations.  It looked pretty cougar-y way back in the little slot formed by the falls, so the pair huddled for warmth and safety.

The falls doing their thing.  Soon after, we packed it back to the camper.  As we hit the dirt road, their we were bracketed by two parked trucks 100 yards to either direction.  I didn’t know what was happening, but my guard was up.  As we approached the front truck, I saw he was glassing the hills above where we’d just come down.

Just then, two shots rang from the truck behind us.  The guys were spotting for the poachers behind us!  I just managed my most toothless grin and kept stepping, but that’s just bad acting.

It was an ambivalent end to a fantastic camping spot just up the road from Mackay.

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