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Colter - Desert Trail Journal - 2012

Entry 78 of 102
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City: Fairbanks
State: Alaska
Begins: Mar 1, 2012
Direction: Northbound

Daily Summary
Date: Wed, Jun 13th, 2012
Start: Little Malheur River
End: Looney Spring
Trip Distance: 1,625.0

Journal Stats
Entry Visits: 607
Journal Visits: 78,528
Guestbook Views: 6,808
Guestbook Entrys: 83

Gear list

(Click image for full size)

Snowshoe Hare at my feet

Elk! Bobcat! Deer! Attack Rabbits!

See also my updated post from yesterday.

It didn't rain last night after all. The sky looked clear when I got up just after 5 am. About 5:30 I was walking and noticing how burned-over the country was ahead. Much of it was all burned, with the crowns all gone and only the trunks left.

"Monument Rock Wilderness" a weathered sign said. It wasn't long before I ran across the first deadfall. I wondered how bad it was going to get. Miles of deadfall could get tedious. Pondering this I crested a little rise to see a huge bull elk feeding a stone's throw away, his velvet covered antlers swaying as he fed. Looking around I could see about five more, including three antlered bulls, a cow so close it was a wonder she hadn't detected me. Suddenly she did. They thundered away in a crashing of broken branches.

Overall it was easy to follow the trail by the older sawed logs, but at one point I lost the trail completely. I pulled out my GPS for a hint. It assured me I was right on the trail. There were numerous stream crossings, but usually a handy log to use... (Just this moment I am lying in camp and turned around to see a cow elk looking at me!)

Despite the hundreds of fallen trees, I've seen worse deadfall on trails. Most were easily stepped over and there were relatively few jack-straw jumbles the likes of which occur from big wind storms.

I was seeing deer, too. Several lone does, likely with hidden fawns nearby. There was a trio of bucks in velvet. I spotted two more bull elk who were walking and feeding on a bench above and ahead of me (a hare just came loping past my feet, see the photo!) I followed for hundreds of yards, our paths converging before they spooked.

I made it out to a logging road in late morning and wrote a post for yesterday while my sleeping bag and down jacket aired out and my phone charged with the solar charger. The nearby brook provided water for a meal of chicken flavored rice.

The roads were deserted. Patches of snow were part of the reason. Many of these roads were only recently drive-able. During a break in the roadside shade I looked into the eyes of a coyote that was running down the road towards me, only about 30' away. When I looked up he stopped, then circled downwind a safe distance, hoping I was something to eat after all.

There were some good views of mountains, the higher peaks all snowy. Some were nearby, others like what must have been the Eagle Caps, more distant. Today's trees were healthy for the most part, including some very thick stands of lodgepole.

Down the road something white was flicking from side to side. It was the white feet of a snowshoe hare. He ran down the road checking out one side then the other until he was sitting a few feet away, looking up into my face!

Late in the day yet another animal was walking down the road towards me. A bobcat! I had knelt down but finally he spotted me. He stalked closer, cautiously, flicking his stubby tail, and finally dove into the thick trees.

Tonight I'm camped near a water tank with two pipes of water flowing into it and a brook running past.

I haven't seen another person for 2 1/2 days. Guess that's one reason so many animals are walking down the logging roads!

Don't forget to sign my guestbook and to check out my map link below for position updates.

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