I’ve always wanted to experience slack packing while on a thru-hike. I got my wish. Luna, at the Looking Glass Base Camp suggested that rather than carry a full resupply uphill to Marias Pass, why don’t we get dropped off at Marias Pass and slack pack back to the Looking Glass. She would even drive us, but seeing she is NOT an early riser, it would have to be after 9am.
We all jumped at the idea, and were able to get two other thru-hikers that needed to use the car to go get their camping permits that morning as well. Up early we left with a liter of water and some snacks. The challenge was to get back to The Looking Glass in time to borrow the car and get to the post office before it closed at 3pm. 15 miles. Downhill. No problem.
We got dropped off at Marias Pass, near the railroad tracks. Across the tracks and into the woods we trotted.
Hobbit led the way. He of all was most motivated to get to the post office. For a small guy, he can move. For some reason we all followed at a nearly 4mph pace for 6 miles. Paul and I finally realized we’re not spring chickens and slowed our pace.
We lunched at a swift creek atop a log bridge, and then continued on our way.
A good portion of the trail was ridiculously overgrown. If you were small in stature the greenery would gobble you up. We pictured Hobbit disappearing completely. Later, we found out that Jan had led the way for fear of losing Hobbit.
We would have made it back sooner, had we NOT missed a right turn and continued over a mile down a steep two track. The steep down should have been a clue. We tried to bushwhack back to the trail, but then realized that we were following an active bear trail. And we were so close! Once we backtracked and trudged our way back up the mosquito infested trail it was smooth sailing all the way back to The Looking Glass.
On the way we found a bear bell, that we attached to Jan’s pack. (It has since been relocated to Hobbit’s pack, who actually likes it…go figure)
Not only did we slack pack 15 miles in 6 hours, we also got invited to dinner with Jan and Hobbit to Pete’s (the guy who gave Jan and Hobbit a ride to the border.
Turns out that Pete makes his own wine, and pies! He prepared us waaay too much food, but we couldn’t be rude, so we ate it all. Indian fry bread taco salad with Rhubarb and huckleberry pie. He gave us the pie the remaining pie(s) for breakfast the next morning.
All in all an excellent end to a marvelous week. Now comes the hard part.