5.6 miles (7am to 4pm)
Kent and Lion Creek Junction
PNT Mile 278.6
Today is one of those PNT days known for it’s awfulness. It lived up to it’s reputation. I had a beautiful ridge walk followed by pretty easy bushwhack followed by horrible bushwhack from hell.
The cross country walking started just after Lower Ball Lake up a tallus slope. The ridge walk was easy and gorgeous.
There were 2 options at this point. Lionshead Ridge or Lions Creek. The ridge is known to be harder with better views and some class 3 scrambling. It isn’t advised to do alone and I wasn’t feeling like doing something harder. So I did the Lions Creek route. It was down into the deep and dark and overgrown. The bushwhack down to the headwaters of the creek was slow but pretty easy. I was able to find game trails most of the way.
Once I got to the creek and after it joined Lions Creek my travel was much slower and more difficult. I know I was more tired and focused on just getting through it because I didn’t take any photos for the rest of the day. Thick alder growth choked off forward progress. When I could find game trails it was much easier even though I couldn’t see my feet because of the tall bushes. The guidebook says grizzlies are known to frequent this area. That made me tense and more aware but I never saw any bear sign. Not that I could see much of the ground. Often the game trail I was on ended in a jumble of downed trees making it difficult or impossible to find the trail again on the other side. Several times I fell over backwards like an upturned turtle and had a difficult time getting back up. I finally found a good trail that lasted the last mile. Once back on real trail I passed Emma and Chris’s tent. I set up my tent nearby. We are surrounded by a beautiful grove of old growth cedars. It was 4pm and I had lots of time to clean up in the creek and inspect my additional cuts and bruises on my legs.
One of the reasons I wanted to do the PNT alone was to challenge myself. To live or die by my own navigational decisions. I’ve done lots of off trail backcountry travel. But always with others. I’ve usually been the slowest and therefore not leading the navigation. Today it was just me out there except for the short time Chris and Emma passed me. I think I did well.