Sunday, July 17th, 2005

Last night…with the threat of rain…I slept in the Megamid and awoke at 4::30 am to visit a tree and never went back to sleep…so I got my gear packed and broke down Roger’s tent and waited for the sun to rise.  Oatmeal and English Muffins and coffee warmed us and we were packed and on the trail by 8:15!  A new record…We rolled right on past Mirror Lake and down in the valley we spotted a large number of sheep grazing…with 2 large “Flock Guard” dogs.  Jim explained to me that as  puppies, these dogs were “imprinted and bonded” to the flock. They then take on the role of the Alpha dog over the flock, just as they would over a pack of dogs, and they protect the herd as if they were part of their canine family.  Very shortly a herder on horseback approached the flock with two more herding Border Collie type dogs.  We estimated there were probably close to 500 sheep grazing in the valley.   

We sighted the vans after hiking only a little over 3 hours and drove over to the Big Sandy Lodge before 12 noon.  Since they were flying out that night...Terri and Deb took a very expensive shower...$10!  We all gobbled down our sack lunch of white bread, cheese, baloney and a juice box as if it were caviar and champagne!  After gathering all our gear and returning the leftover commissary bags we sadly said our goodbyes and hit the road by 1pm…stopping only once at Little America for our 35 cent ice cream cone…(I remembered to exchange cups with Maria…)   Ellen and I were dropped off  at the Quality Inn  about 6:30 pm.  Terri continued on to the airport to catch her red-eye flight.  Ellen and I spent a full 2 hours getting re-packed for the plane…We ate a late dinner at Denny's and yes...I had mashed potatoes ...Ellen had a cheeseburger!  We spent some time in the motel hot-tub...relaxing and reminiscing  about the trip. 

We both agreed that even with a couple of trying days…this trip had been one of the highlights of our life so far.  Thanks to our leaders for keeping us safe, well-fed and informed!   I enjoyed not only the scenery and the self-satisfying experience of a job well-done…but mainly the thing that made the trip so memorable for me was being able to share and enjoy it with all of the wonderful people I met and became friends with… 

It was more amazing to realize that we were a  group of  15 diverse strangers and not one jerk in the bunch…I will miss you all…Please keep in touch…Pat B

July 9th
July 10th
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July 17th