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North Fork Kings Tour - Day Nine and Out

DAY NINE marked the end of our journey. I had an airline ticket for the next day, and Del had another appointment in the Sierra the day after. Our empty bear canisters also suggested that we move on! For the only time on the trip we awoke to dry gear, so we were under way in short order. Most of the peaks were invisible in the forest, so we moved at a good pace over Chuck Pass and down the Woodchuck Creek valley. We expected to see people entering the wildlands this day, yet secretly hoped that we would reach the trailhead without contact; that would be 7 days without other human contact! We snacked under Finger Rock just like on day one, the rock standing tall under dark-blue skies rather than wreathed in cloud. Several butterflies escorted us down this stretch of trail, and we passed the final two marked junctions early in the afternoon. I anticipated seeing the cars about 4:15, but an unmarked junction sent us steeply downhill to an unmarked trailhead on a paved road! This spot could not be reconciled on our maps, and after all our x-c daring we stood uncertainly on the pavement. Del volunteered to continue onward, so Frank and I guarded the packs as Del continued down the road. Soon he shouted back that a junction with 'our' dirt road was in sight, and by 4PM he had picked us up in his van and dropped us at the real trailhead. Greatly relieved, we moved on to Wishon Village for a celebratory beer, then a short drive to Shaver Lake for pizza - our treat to Del for his kindly act. After a fine dinner, we sent Del on his way, and the 2001 North Fork Kings Expedition was over.
Finger Rock with Columbine

pre-hike - day One - Two - Three - Four - Five - Six - Seven - Eight - Nine - Summary

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