John, Davy, Daryl, and the pups spent a week backpacking in the Sawtooths last week. Here are their journal entries and photos. In case you missed them, here are the entries from Day One, Day Two, and Day Three.
Davy:Last night was terrible. There were things chewing on our bags so we decided to move them inside the tent. That made sleeping difficult and uncomfortable for everyone but Daryl because he shoved his backpack over to my mat. That forced me over to Dad’s mat. In the morning when it got light out we looked and saw that Daryl had almost the same amount of space as Dad and I combined! We still had to force Daryl out of bed in the morning.
The rest of the packing was uneventful, but we decided to rearrange items in my pack and give some to the others so that I could carry Kiara with her injured paw. After emptying everything out of the main compartment and tying my blanket around the pack we got Kiara comfortable and stable. Kiara was very heavy! To get her in, we first opened the pack up and got her in. Then the others lifted up the pack and I put my arms in it. Then they tied my blanket around the pack and me to hold her in place.
We passed many lakes after we left, and for most of them we had to go down into a valley where the lake was, then we needed to climb out of the valley. Both of which were steep, and with Kiara, it was very difficult. Our goal was to get to Helldiver Lake, which wasn’t very far, but we weren’t sure how fast we would go. Kiara actually very much enjoyed being carried. She could see much farther and watch for animals. Moe got jealous and wanted to be carried as well, but his paws weren’t in as bad a condition as Kiara, so we only carried him over rocky areas.
We reached Helldiver Lake at around 2:20. Our map showed a small lake about a mile ahead and Daryl put down his pack and went there to make sure there was a camping place. In the meantime Dad went out for a short swim and I slept. Almost 1.5 hours later Daryl came back and reported that there were places to camp, so we left immediately. It turned out that it was almost all uphill to the lake, and when I got there, I had to sit down for several minutes because I was so tired.
Dad basically forced us to take baths, even though the water was freezing. We were able to fit everything into the tent comfortably. Kiara and Moe were both very tired and collapsed inside the tent. We plan on going around nine or ten miles tomorrow to a spring and I hope we can make it there.
Dad: “Necessity is the mother of invention.” We needed some way to elevate Kiara’s worn-down paws. A combination backpack and papoose was proposed. We all agreed that this was the best plan: It would be comfortable for Kiara and stable enough as to minimize being uncomfortable for David.
It worked really well and David was able to carry Kiara most of the 7 miles we hiked today. But it came at a cost to David. It was extremely hard to carry Kiara not only because of her weight but because the pack was top heavy and Kiara kept moving from side to side throwing off David’s balance. There were many hills today and they took a lot out of David. At the end of the day I had never seen David so beat and tired.
We all took baths today by swimming in a lake. I was surprised at how warm the water was. I willingly went in to get refreshed and clean after a sweaty day on the trail. I had to force the kids into the water. I can’t believe they would go to bed completely covered in sweat and dirt from a long day on the trail!
To read the conclusion of their journey, here’s Day Five.