Oy. My knees were sore when I woke up at Sheep Camp! I inherited ‘bad knees’ from my dad (who had a knee replacement in his mid-50’s). If you want to get technical, the condition is called ‘chondromalacia of the patella’, which means the softening and degeneration of the cartilage under the knee cap. I try to mitigate my knee pain by watching my weight and keeping my legs strong, but there’s only so much I can do. There was no way to hide the fact that every knee bend that morning was excruciating. Otherwise, I felt surprisingly good and raring to go even though I had slept poorly.
We had a fairly leisurely morning at Happy Camp as we were allowed to sleep in until 8 or so. I was up around 7 and journaled as I waited for hot water to be ready for coffee, enjoying the beautiful landscapes.
Just out of Happy Camp we were treated to an extraordinary sighting: a grizzly bear! Mark declared it his best sighting of a grizzly for this trail and possibly of his career. The bear crossed a ridge we were just about to climb, so we waited for several minutes to give it time to get out of the area, then Mark led us up the ridge yelling ‘Hey, bear!’ every few feet. He was obviously tense, but I was relaxed behind him figuring that he would get eaten first. 😀
When we got to the top of the ridge, we were able to look down to the valley below and there stood the grizzly! It was a National Geographic moment, with the grizzly moving about on grass by a stream with a snowy glacier as a backdrop. I’m disappointed that I didn’t get better pictures of the bear, so you’ll just have to trust me that the brown spot in the relevant pictures are of a bear about the size of a small elephant!
The rest of the morning was pleasant and leisurely hiking that felt like a real treat after the previous day! Lunch was had at Deep Lake, a picturesque spot by a fast moving creek.
More about this section of the trail can be found in my ebook about the Chilkoot. 🙂