29th August
Wallace creek to tentsite (782.5)
12.2 miles.
Total miles: 53.4 miles


I was a bit chilly through the night. That kind of sweat chill. I woke up 5 minutes before my alarm was due to go off at 4:45am packed up and got on the trail at 5:10am.

I needed my headlamp and the trail was weird as it went through little pockets of different temperature. Just as I was almost too hot and sweaty with my jacket on I would have to zip it up again and put the buff around my ears. 

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I set off so early so I could catch up with Catwater and the guys. They had said they would camp at Tyndall creek but I know they went a little further up trail on day 2 so maybe they carried on a bit. I know Catwater likes to get up early and hike before it gets really hot but maybe she would wait for me today? Plus they guys don’t seem that keen on an early start!

The trail was absolutely beautiful this morning, starting off in the dark and seeing the sun rise in to the clear sky. I was torn between wanting to go fast and just stopping and staring a the stars, and then staring at the beautiful morning light. The walk through the the bighorn plateau was great, it’s always great!

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I got to Tyndall creek around 7am and had a good look around. No sign of anyone. I had asked a couple of people I crossed paths with on the trail this morning whether they had seen her – ‘have you seen an older lady, grey braids and a blue cap?” – and it was all positive. She had been spotted at Tyndall creek yesterday. 

After Tyndall I spoke to another guy who said he had seen her yesterday on the other side of the next creek. He remembers her because she was there when he helped a 78 year old lady with a 50 pound pack across the creek!

I saw a green tent and I thought it was hers. I got excited. It wasn’t. It belonged to a random man who hadn’t seen her. People kept asking me if I meant the 78 year old woman. She’s old but not that old. 

We had arranged for a note to be left at the junction to the rangers station and another one on the trail where they decided to camp. I was looking around but I didn’t see any notes.

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Spot the fat Marmot!

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After that the trail went cold. Everyone I asked coming towards me hadn’t seen her. Nor had anyone at the campground across the creek. I became convinced I was now ahead of her and was pretty confused as to how I would have gone by their camp. I thought I did a pretty thorough search! When I got to about three miles away from Forester Pass and I had done about 6.5 miles I spoke to a man who went over the pass that morning and he hadn’t seen her, so I sat and waited. After no one having seen her all morning I must be ahead. And sure enough about 45 minutes later she comes around the corner. All is good with the world again. 

We catch up and it turns out they were camped at Tyndall and they left me two notes and I didn’t see either of them. Well, I’m not known for being the most observant. 

So we carry on and make it up the long slow climb to the base of Forester pass. I try and keep with the guys, so they don’t feel like they are at the back all the time, but about half way I moved a bit faster to catch Catwater. I had visions of her having already gone over the pass! We waited by the creek, we have seen so many people today, mostly coming the other way. 

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The climb up to Forester was steep and exhausting. I was grateful that the guys were there and they were slower than me because I was taking my sweet time. Partly because it hurt to breathe and party because my legs were so tired and partly because it was nice to stop often and look around. Catwater is in such good shape she flew up there in 30 minutes. It took me about 45 minutes with almost zero effort. I probably could have shaved about 5 minutes off my time if I had really tried, but not much more! 

We stayed up there for a while. Baking in the sun with zero shade anywhere. Craig and Scott arrived too and we all had lunch together.

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Processed with VSCO with g9 preset

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On the way down Catwater and I had a nice chat with Craig and I realised that I already kind of knew him from Instagram, or at least I recognised his Instagram handle! 

It was so exposed on the way down and I just wanted to get out of the sun. I’d had enough. My skin was burning and my lips were so sore from the sun and the dust and dryness and dehydration. Plus getting down to the trees meant I could have my first poo in 4 days. I still didn’t really have the urge to go but I thought I should at least try.

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Eventually we made it down to the tree line sometime between 2:30pm and 3pm. We said farewell to Scott and Craig as they are carrying on. Of course they are, it’s so early! Our guys were done for the day and ready to camp so we found a spot tucked up in the trees and pitched up. 

I found a tree and had a poo. Surprisingly loose for a 4 day old stool. 

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I have definitely had too much sun today because it’s still hot outside but I am feeezing and I’ve had to put my jacket on. My tent is in the shade but I’m already tucked up in my sleeping bag writing this and it’s only 5pm. 

Everything stinks. I can smell my hair, my body, inside my jacket and my socks. Phewey my socks really are unpleasant. 

We aren’t used to having all this time. We are trying to hold off until 6:30pm for dinner. I always thought it would be nice to just sit and appreciate the moment, and it is, but with ourr tiny attention spans we have developed it’s so difficult to do that, to just be happy in the moment without any mental stimulation. 

I could just stare at this view for hours though. This is my home tonight. And I might even be awake long enough to see the stars! 

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I made the mistake of closing my eyes and had an hours nap. Woke up to eat dinner. On the menu was chicken tikka. It looked absolutely disgusting. Like actual vomit. It tasted ok, if a bit spicy for my sore lips. 

We are camped in almost the same place we camped in 2016 before we went over the pass. I remember camping here. It was cold and windy and we got up early to get over the pass which was also cold and windy. But I didn’t remember the long descent from the pass, which would have meant a long ascent. Which means two things. I was a lot fitter in 2016 and life wasn’t such a struggle, and I have successfully blocked out the shit bits. 

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I think I definitely have a touch of heat stroke. Or sun stroke. Or whichever the non deadly one is. 

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