GDT kms: 21.4
Another cold, dark start, this time well below freezing, but miraculously we didn’t have frozen shoes. When we got on the trail, it was more of what we did yesterday, constant finding/losing trail, and quite slow going. Where we initially planned to camp last night was supposed to be an established site, but we didn’t see any evidence of a camp as we went along, so I’m glad we didn’t press on yesterday to try and get to it.
Eventually we finally turned off the Jackpine into a burn area where the trail disappeared again. This was definitely the easiest burn to get through though and one of the prettiest burns we’ve walked through so far.
After a bit of finding and losing the trail up Little Shale, it eventually became consistent, but rather brushy still. We had the briefest of views at the top and then we needed to go right back down to the bottom to cross a very opaque but thankfully shallow river and then right up to climb Big Shale.
The climb was slow, but once we got above treeline it was beautiful with amazing views of the area and walking at the top. It was after 7pm by the time we were descending, so we stopped at the first flat patch we found that looked reasonable.
It was probably one of our prettiest camp sites so far – we were in between a tiny flat patch between the only trees around and there were two little streams intersecting just ahead that we ate dinner ate.
The climbs today definitely took longer than we would have liked though and now we are a fair bit behind schedule – really hoping that the next couple days are easier so we don’t need to try and stretch our food even more, I’ve already been rationing my snacks so we’ll have at least a bit of food for the potential 3 days walking to the highway.