Happy Birthday, Lori!
The early stop yesterday gave us energy for the ascent to the Plains of Abraham. The switchbacked climb was moderate and steady. Along the way were frequent mileposts that were almost absent up to that point. Also we saw vivid evidence that this was once underwater. Right on the road was a well-preserved fish fossil and later we found a large fossilized sea anemone.
We took a break at a caboose near the top of our climb. The cabooses, which were used as portable shelters for workers on the Canol, are spaced at irregular intervals all along the Canol and are usually in quite poor shape. Each caboose was dragged on skids and the skids remain one of its sturdiest aspects.
The Plains were wide open and made for some really nice walking. Unfortunately the smoke was still hindering our views, but at this, our highest elevation on the trip, the smoke hung low on the horizon with blue sky above it. The constant wind was mild which made the walk all the more enjoyable. At Camp 80 we took lunch. This is another potential food drop, but landing on that airstrip would be hairy to say the least. This being Lori's birthday (my wife), I positioned my camera atop Roberta's hiking staff and took a timed picture of us singing happy birthday.
Leaving Camp 80, we also left the Plains of Abraham. The descent to the Little Keele started out nice, but halfway down the road became obliterated and we were back to boulder-hopping. About that time the rain came back accompanied by two friends: cold and wind. I wouldn't believe that this was more than a sprinkle and refused to put on my rain jacket when Dave and Roberta donned theirs. When shivering set in, I decided that maybe a raincoat was a good idea. Unfortunately my rain pants were packed away so I decided to remain in shorts; this is how I usually approach rainstorms anyway.
The last two miles crept by and we were thankful to get to Pump Station #3. Our luck appeared to hold since we had a dry place to sleep during a good rainstorm, which by the way, cleaned the air of all the smoke we'd had for the last three days. I was even able to sleep on a mattress. Pump Stations often had one mattress and Dave and Roberta wouldn't touch them with a stick, which was a good thing because it would not have been pretty seeing me cry like a baby until I got what I wanted. The setting sun and broken clouds up the Little Keele River valley put on quite a show.
The tent stays dry!!!…