The next day we had to soon cross over to the west side of the river to avoid willow thickets on the east. Plus at the head of the valley I was going to hike up the west side of the creek, west of where it tumbles down the steep slopes. I decided to use the packraft to cross the river. I could have waded across but I wanted to try to keep my feet dry for as long as possible.
That was a good crossing and I only almost bailed once. I didn’t bring a PFD because everything I was intending to paddle was pretty tame. I brought one for Reina. I got that crossing all on video. But here I will only present to you a screen shot to keep you waiting in suspense to watch the full feature length film I will eventually put out… some day…
At the end of the valley we had lunch amongst the talus rocks with all the pikas and marmots. I contemplated the big climb up to the alpine. At this location I had previously decided to abandon an earlier attempt with my bike because it looked too rough. Here are some photos I took from this spot on a previous trip:
Little weasel scurrying around:
But as soon as we got through the initial brush the forest opened up nicely and the hike was extremely easy in terms of finding a clear route up. But it was pretty steep and I had to take frequent breaks. I found a stagnant pond to filter from.
And then suddenly we got to the top and it opened up into alpine. This is looking north in the direction we were just heading if we continued that way:
Instead we turned to the left, to the west, to cross over the head of the valley and then turn south again:
You can see the steep cliff edge along the top of the valley, which continues all along the length of the valley, hence why we had to hike up to the head of the valley to get up to alpine. This is looking south-west towards where we were going:
Looking south back down the valley to where we came from:
We headed westwards across the upper feeder creek and up further into the volcanic terrain on the other side of the “valley” which we were basically out of now. We headed south, kind of back-tracking our previous day’s progress, but paralleling it up on the alpine tables above the valley. The terrain became more and more barren.
I looked for a camping spot and found a sandy patch to pitch the tent.
But there was no water to be found. Further ahead I saw a remnant snow field so I filled up the collapsible bucket with snow and put it in my pots in the sun to melt. Reina had a lot of fun playing in the snow.
I recommend filling up with water from the last creeks as you transition from green to brown. The volcanic soil just soaks up the water and there are no creeks.