Day 2: The Missing Ranger

Thursday, June 28, 2018
Start: Canyon City
Stop: Sheep Camp
6.3 Miles

Even though my beanie is over my eyes I can still tell that it’s getting brighter after 3am. I sneak out just after 5am and pee just down the trail from my tent. I manage to fall back asleep and awake sometime after 7am to the clinking of tent stakes. I peak out and Phil is just about all packed up and ready to go. I get back into my hiking clothes and emerge from my tent. Within an hour I heat water for breakfast, eat it and pack up all my gear. Not far after our camp we explore the Canyon City ruins which are across the Taiya River and accessed by a VERY loose suspension bridge. The original boiler, that ran the tram and provided electricity, sits abandoned slowly returning to the earth.

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It’s a climb to Sheep Camp, steep at first before it mellows out. Sheep Camp looks to be mid-renovation and there is a giant covered structure with lots of picnic tables where we can cook. After Phil and I fit our tents onto one platform, I return to the large covered structure to make hot chocolate and read. Neon man finally makes camp and is still pontificating. Phil and I play connect four and he’s a good sport about it because he keeps losing. I eat my next heaviest meal of rice and chicken and it’s so damn tasty. We hang out, waiting for the Ranger talk at 7pm. I chat with Mike, who’s 72 and has traveled the world. He’s probably sailed just about everywhere. He tells a harrowing story about exploring regions in Oman as a way of deciding whether or not to sail there. Then he regales us with another story of his 4 year seasonal sail through the Northwest Passage (East to West). We talk a bit about Kilimanjaro (which of course he’s climbed) and then there’s brief mention of tomorrow’s summit. According to Neon Man’s calculations, he will be to Happy Camp by 12pm (7 hours total hiking). Bottom line, Mike is the shit! And I don’t give two winks about Neon Man. The Ranger never shows and I give up about 730pm, heading back to my tent in the hopes of sleep.