July 16: mile 1250: Bake Oven Shelter

Duck and I left around 830 in perfect weather.  We hoped to hike 17 miles to Bake Oven Shelter. The first half of the day was pretty flat and only had softball to basketball sized rocks to avoid.  By afternoon it was starting to get pretty hot so we stopped at bar/restaurant just off the trail.  Not only were there a dozen or so packs out front, but a passed out hiker on the porch.  We stepped into the air conditioned heaven and muscled up to the bar food and drink.  We were a little less than seven miles from our goal, normally a three hour hike with the conditions that we had been hiking.  It being 3 o’clock we figured we could hang for a couple of hours and still roll in before eight.  

After four or five beers and some grub. We set out at about 4:30.  After about three miles, we got the top of a ridge and were faced with these enormous boulders as far as we could see.  The trail went over this boulder field for over a mile. Huge flat rocks the size of pick up trucks were tilted so that the flat face was like a slide over the cliff.  So you leap onto the edge or corner of these enormous slabs  and hope that you don’t slide to your death.  It scared the shit out of me.  I don’t know if the six pack buzz was a positive or something I was lucky to survive.  We leaped from slab to slab for about a mile without ever touching the ground.  After running that gauntlet, we hiked on over some more flat ground until about 830 with a half a mile to go.  At that point we hit another field of those boulders with the difference being the sun was going down.  Hair raising as hell.  I got to the shelter and pitched the tent in the dark happy to have just barely finished the bouldering before total darkness descended.  More rocks tomorrow I presume.  Happy trails.

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