Day 10: Animal Kingdom – Elk Ridge to Tennessee Creek 19 miles

Last night I had marmots in love, frolicking on the glacier field. They even stopped to kiss each other. Some funny creatures they are.

I slept fairly well and woke up to Triple-Z’s alarm chimes. She had to change up the wake up theme since I chose to sleep through the soft ring. I fired up my stove to make some coffee and got to the business of changing back into my one and only trail outfit. As the water boiled, I went to turn it off and the tiniest little mouse was hanging out in my vestibule. I think he was looking for warmth and maybe a morsel to eat. Triple-Z says I make friends everywhere I go, including mice! She had no mice at her tent five feet away from me. I gave the little guy an itsy bitsy piece of cheese and finished packing up for the days journey.

We headed out toward Kokomo Pass 12022′ to the south. Another out of this world sunrise with all the clouds overhead. Just before he peaked, there was a quail chasing another quail yelling at him, stay away from the chicks and don’t ever come back! At least that’s what it sounded like. She was quite upset at 5:30. Once at the top of the pass, we met an “outbound adventure group” teaching novice backpackers a thing or two. They obviously get up early too! It was their first experience and there was close to 15 of them. They were filled with awe at the incredible vista on top of Kodama.

As we left, we saw three elk running across the trail. I’m not sure if they were spooked or just out for their morning exercise? So far, this has been the most active morning we’ve had and it’s not even 6am yet!

Today we had some makeup miles since I pooped out yesterday. There’s a saying in the long distance hiking verbiage called 10×10. The idea is to walk ten miles by 10am. Being that today was relatively easy in elevation, we made the miles pretty quickly. We came across bunkers that were used during WWII training camp for the 10th Mountain Division of the military. There must have been 15-20 bunkers that were built into a hillside. It looks so out of place but because of the unexplored artillery, I suppose they leave it in place.

We headed up the hill and just as we turned a switchback, I could hear a squeak from some critter. Directly ahead of us was a Pine Marten or Weasel looking critter running off with a baby rodent in his mouth. I’m thinking what’s gonna be next? I still haven’t seen a moose so maybe today’s the day!

No moose yet but we did find a lovely swing to take a break on. This truly was an animal kingdom day. We are situated in our tents by 3:30pm after an early afternoon thunderstorm rolled in. As I’m looking over a meadow with many willows and a river that runs through it. I’m keeping my eyes peeled because I’m thinking there’s a good chance, if I was a moose, I’d hang out here for dinner!

And God said, “Let the land produce living creatures according to their kind; the creatures that move along the ground, and all the wild animals of their kind”, and God said it was good. Genesis 1: 24

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