Written by Don Alexander
There wasn’t much of a trail at first. It was overgrown, had marshy spots and rocks, but it was much better than what we’d gone through to get here today. With a quick change of batteries, headlamp and GPS on the move, we were on our way towards the main ATV trail. Ralph and I had a preplanned that if they made it to the crossroads they would take the Gatorade that I’d left the morning before and leave it with a note on the path so we’d know they were all right. If they found the GPS lost in the morning it would be noted there too. We found no sign of the bottle and assumed the worst, Res2100 and Hiker might still be out there bushwhacking. Maybe we missed it? There was nothing to do but keep on going, at the least to find someone that could let us know for sure.
We reached the COG camp and had a quick “We’re back and OK” passing through and found out that Lisdowney had left, taking another home to recover from an illness nearer to civilization. Also, thankfully, that Res2100 and HikerT made it through safe and sound about 4 hours earlier. This trip has been nothing short of surprises. We forged on ahead to on the last stretch. The long day kept wearing us down and we had to make a few stops before finally reaching the Sturgeon River.
With a few whistle blows we were greeted by an energetic Cisco’s jingling and barking across the river. What a welcome sound that was! It was almost as welcome as Roglatour’s “Holy smokes, you guys made it out!” as he crossed the river on his ATV to greet us. There’s something to be said about Northern Hospitality as much as Southern. Each of us was treated to an individual ride across the river and with that, our hike was complete. We may not have been the first to complete it in a day but had an incredible adventure on that very same day that will be hard to top as far as caches or experiences go.
With a short walk to camp, we found a few were still stirring, worried about us as much as we were worried about them. I was still worried about Rainbow, with the sacrifice she made in sleep gear and the icy cold temperatures and found Roglatour and his girlfriend had taken care of that too. We talked a little by the fire and I went to bed falling asleep before my head hit the mattress.