Saturday morning we packed up and Debi dropped me off at Mark’s in-laws’ again where I was meeting up with Tom and Mark to go on our annual hike. We hung out waiting for Tom for a little bit then loaded up the car and headed out. We stopped for a quick lunch at a Rumbi location, which is the restaurant chain owned by Tom’s boss (Tom is his personal assistant). Employees pay half price, so it was a cheap, good lunch. We then headed north, into the dark recesses of Idaho! We stopped in Pocatello for food and supplies and I got hit on by some girl in the store (I think she was hitting on Mark, but he insisted that it was me because I don’t wear a wedding ring; either way it was funny). The area near Borah Peak, which is the highest point in Idaho, is actually kind of interesting. There is a national laboratory there (The INL or Idaho National Laboratory) that does energy research. It is also the location where the first nuclear power plant was built and developed. We stopped for dinner in Arco at Pickle’s Place, a tiny little, fly-infested diner. Arco’s claim to fame is that it was the first city powered by nuclear energy. The symbol of the county there, Butte County, is the atomic symbol – a nucleus orbited by electrons. They’re pretty proud of their nuclear heritage up there. Oh, and Pickle’s Place has a signature burger. Guess what it is called? The Atomic Burger. They also had a veggie burger that was pretty good (that’s what I ordered); Mark and Tom both got the Atomic Burger.
We left Arco at around 7:00 or 7:30 and drove through Mackay before we realized we were basically out of gas. So, we turned around quickly and got some gas before making our way to the Borah Peak trailhead. When we pulled in we saw a bunch of cars, more than we expected. Most of the campsites where already taken. We stopped by the trailhead, where several people where hanging out and waiting and found out that a twelve year-old girl and her father were still on the mountain. It was almost 9:00 pm at this point and getting dark fast. The girl’s mother had called the county sheriff when she didn’t hear from her husband, so he was up there checking on things. They came down safely a little bit after we arrived, as did another guy we met there. That other guy spent 15 hours climbing the mountain the day before – he started at 6:30 am and got back to his truck at 9:30 pm. We talked to another person who had done the hike on Saturday and she said it wasn’t that bad, but having read some descriptions and hearing about the people still on the mountain, I began to worry.
We quickly set up Tom’s monstrous 10 man tent (it literally has three separate rooms) and climbed into our sleeping bags. I was pretty tired, so I drifted off to sleep right away while Tom and Mark played a couple games of chess. Thanks to a sudden surge in allergies (something I’ve only recently required), I didn’t sleep all that well (Mark’s snoring didn’t help either), but I managed to stay asleep until about 6:00am when my bladder woke me up for good. I dozed for a while after that, but we were up and getting ready for the hike by around 7:00 am.