Monday, August 16, 2010

Novarupta Awaits!

It's hard to believe we are halfway through August already. That gives me only five weeks left of my time at Katmai, and soon enough this traveling geo-blogger will be on my way to newer and different adventures.

But wait! I have one more big adventure awaiting, because Minnesota Sue arrived yesterday. We will be backpacking into the Valley of 10,000 Smokes for 3 nights and 4 days. Our meals were assembled last evening (and we will most likely have to whittle down our food selections - How much trail mix can 2 people reasonably expect to eat in that time?) and now we need to figure out how to get it all into the bear-resistant food container that you must carry into the VTTS. Some of that trail mix will need to be jettisoned, no doubt.

Sue had purchased a lot of supplies before she left MN and had mailed them to me. Pop Tarts! You can't go on a backpack without Pop Tarts. She thought of everything including the all-important thin bagels and swiss cheese to be eaten with little packets of pickle relish and onion from the convenient store stash.

Kent will drop us off this evening at the Three Forks visitor center where Sue and I will spend the night (on the floor again, of course, but now I have a brand-new Big Agnes insulated inflatable sleeping pad, and won't be using my previously-dreaded I-really-can't-sleep-on-that-thing closed cell foam pad). The plan is to get up early tomorrow morning and be on the trail by around 8 a.m. in order to get to the USGS research hut on Baked Mountain on our first day out. It's around 10 miles distance and so very do-able. Then on Wednesday (2nd day) we will explore the area and hike the 2-3 miles to Novarupta and have a look around, and spend our 2nd night at the hut. On Thursday (3rd day) we'll leave the hut and hike back to the 6-mile campsite below the Buttress Range and spend the night (I am bringing my tent), and then Friday (4th day) we will do the final few miles back to the Three Forks visitor center where we will pick up the Excursion that Kent and Jeanette will have left off (as they start their own 3-day adventure) and drive ourselves back to Brooks Camp.

I will take loads of photos, of course! So I'll see you when I get back at the end of the week. I'll have an 8-day work stretch waiting for me when I return, but it will all be so totally worth it.

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