July 7th – We left our camp by Delmoe Lake and walked the dirt road towards I-15. Along the way we met a charming older man named Les who does work for the Forest Service. He apparently did the actually gun shooting for the old Western actor Jeff Bridges in several films, including Rancho Deluxe. He enjoyed regaling us of tales of his youth… getting numerous purple hearts in war, chasing after killer Grizzly bears and playing every sport imaginable. He even showed us an old b&w photo of himself back when he was our age! 

Wishing ol’ Les farewell, we noticed we could cut straight to our destination – Homestake Lodge – if we just did a little bushwack and crossed 4 lane Interstate 15 “frogger style” in the words of Joker. (Anyone remember that classic video game?). We said goodbye to Jack/Found and proceeded to bushwack, blazing our own trail complete with a twist and crawl under barbed wire fences and traipse through a muddy bog. Finally we emerged, with twigs sticking out of our hair and mud up to our calves, at a rest area along the highway where 2 truckers stared at us as if we were swamp monsters. We nonchalantly walked on, ran helter-skelter across the highway and then cleverly detected a gate in the upcoming fence. Only once we were all safely inside and several hundred feet on did we realize we’d locked ourselves into a little pen. Ha!

Nonetheless, arrive at Homestake we did. Unfortunately our packages of food had not. Thankfully the owner, Chris, spoke with UPS and assured us it should be there around 7pm that night. This was definitely not what we’d anticipated. We’d spent additional time and money mailing food here to save us time and money. Hmm…

But in the end it turned out to be a blessing in disguise. Homestake is a new cross-country ski resort and has a beautiful lodge that’s completely off the grid. Of course, this lodge was rented out by a group so we hung out in the grass….. but it was a very relaxing Nero (near to a zero mile day). Since there was nothing to do but wait we lounged about in the sun.  And plot how to get food, since we’d eated all ours in anticipation of getting more at Homestake.

This involved Dan spending hours calling various pizza delivery places and begging them to deliver pizza to us, even though it was out of their delivery zone, down a highway and then a dirt road. Finally, after much negotiating, Dan convinced Papa John’s to deliver 4 pizzas to us. They were heavenly! Later on the group from the lodge invited us in for leftover lasagna and salad. Yum! Plus they gave us loaf after loaf of the most dense and delicious homemade whole wheat bread. By the time UPS arrived with our trail food we couldn’t manage another morsel.

So, with heavily loaded backs we set off, bushwaking once more up a steep mountainside to a gorgeous camp on the mountain ridge surrounded by a field of quartz.