Days 46-48: Great Basin National Park

We just finished our first ever two night backpacking night. We’ve backpacked plenty, but have always had the promise of a shower after one night of camping, the guarantee of a cold beer no more than a day away, a good supply of toilet paper with a nice porcelain throne tomorrow, and the knowledge of only one night of neck cramps from the camping pillow.

Great Basin is such a beautiful park and so not crowded. We saw a small handful of other hikers the first day, not a single soul on the second day, and just one solo hiker this morning. During a summer when the National Parks are swollen with so many people, it’s refreshing to find solitude. The hiking wasn’t too difficult, except for the mountain summit we did on day 2. Yep, you read that right. Another mountain summit. Pyramid Peak. We’ve camped with this peak towering over us in two previous trips, it was awesome being at the summit. At the saddle, we ditched our packs and made the 500 foot ascent to the summit. It was all class 2 and fun, but the rocks were so unstable and our feet were slipping and sliding all over. The summit was absolutely stunning and we got to sign the summit log, a treasure only the less visited summits have.

Back at the saddle we got a call from Derrell, our site manager. The plumber was responsible for a “pretty major disaster.” He didn’t connect the drain to the upstairs tub. Then he left the faucet in the on position. Then he turned the main water breaker on to work in another part of the house and didn’t turn it off when leaving on Friday. This caused flooding through the ceiling from the second floor to the great room/dining room all weekend. About 400 square feet of flooring was destroyed and some drywall as well. Good news is that the plumber’s insurance is covering it all and everything is repairable or replaceable. Bad news is that there will be a delay, especially with the scarcity of wood flooring now. I have total confidence in the Asher to make sure this all gets fixed correctly, it’s just a hassle to have to worry about. Ellie said that maybe the plumber needs to go back to plumbing school and I’m kind of in agreement.

I have to admit that the phone call really changed my ability to focus on the hike. Now we know a lot more and understand the steps being taken, but we spent the rest of the day worrying. I took a major fall at one point and I know it was because I was so distracted. I woke up every 30 minutes or so feeling sick about it. It’s hard when stress is added to an already mentally exhausting activity. Not helping the situation was that we were running out of water and couldn’t find any to filter near the location we wanted to camp. (Irony?) The spring and the creek were completely dry, more evidence not the horrific drought that is devastating the region. We had to hike an extra mile last night to the river. We ended up camping there, which did cut a mile off our hike this morning.

The hike out this morning was easy and quick. We made the drive to the nearest In-n-Out, 2.5 hours away, and then onto Idaho Falls. We wake up early tomorrow and hike the trail for our second ever two night backpacking trip! This time at the Grand Tetons. Until then I’m enjoying the shower, beer, porcelain, and pillow.

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