Journal Day 8
Maya and I did a lot of hiking today. Her paws are all better and my lungs have grown accustomed to the thin air. I no longer wake at night gasping. We went down the bear track trail and explored a few old fire roads with trees growing in the middle of them. We found a whole elk skull, and met a family in an RV camped to the east of the bear trail in a secluded meadow. Their names are Mike and Ann and they have three teenage sons. I gave them the skull because I certainly can't hike with it. I'm not sure how I'll manage what I have.
Mike works for a power company in Hawaii that is a test market for something he calls geothermal energy. It sounds very interesting. They're letting him work from his computer while he travels with the family for the summer. Every morning he drives out to Strawberry to transmit his work. He says he used to be a Forest Service fireman in Utah. They call them Hot Shots.
Back at camp, I went around collecting grasshoppers for dinner. It took me about two hours to find and catch fifty of them. Fifty looks like a lot of grasshoppers when they're jumping around in a bucket, but once you remove the head, legs, and wings, there isn't much left.
I roasted them in taco powder. They made a tasty snack, but it would take a powerful lot of them to actually feed me. Maya liked them too. They were crispy, but didn't have much meat to them. I sure hope I don't have to rely on eating them. I probably expended more calories catching them than they provided. We'll have to get to where there is fish soon.
Just before dusk, we trekked up to the lake and saw about twenty elk in a meadow. Man, are they incredible animals! You can't hardly look anywhere around darkening time without seeing one. We saw several more on the way back to Onion camp.
We're out of coffee.
Journal Day 9
We're down to dog food, hot cereal, mushroom gravy mix, bread crumbs, a couple of cans of green beans, spices, and of course the popcorn. I took some sinew from my roll down to Mike. He's making bows for the boys and was going to use boot laces for the string.I gave him one of my six foot rolls of leather too. They can make slings or whatnot.
We did some trading, and I dumped a lot of the crap I am unable to carry for a few supplies. I gave him the guitar, acrylic paints, and all my books except the Book of Outdoor Lore. In return, he gave me a box of cigars, a big can of coffee, and more dog food. I realized after returning to camp, that I gave him all my paint brushes and have nothing for the water colors I kept. Oh well, Maya and I have plenty of hair.
Saw a turkey this morning by a small watering hole we found. Thought we'd been hearing them.
Tomorrow, I'm going to spend the day paring down my gear some more and packing up for the trek to the Washington Trailhead. It's going to be much warmer below the Rim. I had hoped to spend more of the summer up here, but with a fishless lake, that's just not wise. I'll do better in the creeks and rivers below. My maps show three sources of water between here and the trailhead, which is maybe ten miles away. We'll take our time and only cover about 3 miles or so per day.
While I'm loafin' with a cigar over a cup of Maxwell House, I'll tell you a fish story.
Growing up in Ohio, I fished for bass and catfish mostly. One night some friends of mine and I snuck into a trout hatchery, but that's all the trout fishing experience I have. They would hit on a shiny hook there, or corn, or even bubblegum, so I still really know nothing about trout fishing. I expect to learn. I kind of have too.
Before I left town, I asked a friend how to trout fish and he related this technique: “You take some bread and wade out into the water until you are about waist deep. Sprinkle bits of bread on the water and stand very still with a big stick raised over your head. When the fish come up to eat, Wham!”
I'm skeptical, but haven't had the chance to try it yet.