After a night of good collecting and a decent slumber, we began to hike further up the mountain. Unknowingly, we were embarking on the mutually agreed upon most difficult stretch of the hike for us and our thirty-five pound packs.
Left to Right:
Larry Schwendiman, McClane Christensen, Michael Wells, Chad Christensen (McClane's Uncle), Sam Wells (Michael's Father and my Uncle)
Only a few minutes into the hike had passed when I noticed a beetle on a granite boulder. After closer inspection, I noticed it was none other than Neospondylis upiformis. A friend of mine collected this same species for me a few years back. It has mentionable size variation, which Dennis Haines illustrates very well with a photo posted to Bugguide. The individual in the below photograph measures fifteen mm in length. The fella was a bit tattered but I hope to see others in the future while collecting in some of our northwestern forests.
Neospondylis upiformis (Mannerheim)
After a few miles of uphill hiking, we were passing through a meadow in a forested ravine when I noticed a second, yet much different, bycid on to the side of the trail.
Lepturobosca chrysocoma (Kirby, 1837)
The disadvantage to photography and collecting in a group is that people generally wont wait!
X miles later we began to drop in elevation (around 500 ft. drop). We knew that we had started at 8,000 ft. that morning and with our destination being at 10,000 ft., we were a little disappointed with the extra effort that it would require to make it. After we were able to climb back to the altitude we were at before the drop, we were very much delighted with the scenery of Long Meadows which ran right along our trail .
(Once again I had the opportunity to exercise by catching up with the group).
The only thing that could have made this place better would be a lack of mosquitoes and an ice cold beverage.
We were on the last stretch of the hike to Disappointment Lake on Hell For Sure Trail (both official names) and I had rotated through several Pink Floyd, Yes, The Beatles, Okkervil River and Bob Dylan albums since that morning. I normally don't bring tunes with me hiking unless I know they will be useful in providing mental energy. This was indeed the case during this particular day and I took the above picture while listening to "Close To The Edge" by Yes as a reminder of the beautiful combination that was present.
After hiking a distance of twelve miles and climbing a total of about 2,600 ft. through the coarse of the day, we made it to the lake a couple hours before dark. The fish were biting and we caught our limit of brown trout for supper! We had brought MREs as well to ensure we had something to eat every night, though I ended up eating both for the extra energy, loss of weight to carry and to plainly enjoy the moment.
A sizzling pan of bread crumbed brown trout fillets, tomatoes, onions cooked in veggie oil and later juiced with lemons.
You might wonder who brought all of this wonderful stuff which made such a meal. Well, it was Chad who ironically had the lightest pack! He told me that his pack without equipment is several pounds lighter than most. I am now considering investing in a new pack.
Me and my mosquito bitten face looking forward to the restful evening.