Here She Comes to Save the Day!
Very rarely does a friend come along that you can trust to lead you blindly through the wilderness, but we'll get to that in a minute. Navaho Peak in the Teanaways is everything a hike should be. It has creeks aplenty to refill your water supply, flowers are blossoming all over, the trees come in all shapes and sizes, and you get the epic views that come from being at 7,223ft elevation. Though it is 13 miles round-trip there are campsites all along the way, so plan to make it an overnight trip.
I camped at the first trail crossing (Stafford meets Stand-Up Creek). There was a cozy little spot around 100 foot above the trail by the creek. Since I was planning to do a sunset hike to the summit, I decided to have a hammock day. Nym splashed about in the water and explored our camp while I lazed about drinking coffee and eating peanut butter and celery sticks.
We left our camp behind and began the ascent to the summit at around 5 o'clock. On the way up we discovered that there were campsites galore that would've offered better views of sunrise and sunset without having to hike. Next time!
We arrived at the summit of Navaho Peak at 7:30, after stopping to visit with a man and his 13 year old dog that were cowboy camping 700ft below the summit on an outcropping of rock. The view from the top of Navaho Peak is something to write home about. Even with low clouds in the distance blocking the view of some of the major peaks, there was plenty to feast your eyes on.
Mount Stuart at the head of the Enchantments was striking among the rolling clouds. We stayed up there for an hour waiting for the sun to set and worried the whole time that the clouds would be too dense for it to be pretty. They turned out to be my favorite part of the photos (Let me know what you think in the comment section).
I stayed up for a bit longer than I should have with 2.5 miles to hike down, but I had a headlamp so I wasn't concerned. When I tried to turn it on and nothing happened though, I began to worry. We still had a bit of twilight so we rushed down the steepest part before darkness completely set in. After that I was completely in Nym's hands. I told her to "Stay on the trail and lead us down." Since I couldn't see further than a bare outline of the next footstep, I had to have complete faith in her trail following abilities.
Have I mentioned how much I love my smart border collie recently? She fearlessly led us through the dark and down a trail that was difficult to follow during broad daylight. She waited on me at every turn, and resisted her urge to run off through the woods to explore. I somehow managed to make it down dry and with no falls. Well, almost. The last creek is a wide one with sparse rocks, so 100 foot from my campsite I fell in the water with a splash! Luckily I only got wet to the knees and had extra clothes (though not shoes).
After an adventure of both glorious sights and trying times, we set to making warm soup for dinner with my Jetboil, before cuddling up in the tent for the night. The life of an adventurer can be scary at times, but with the proper sidekick you can get through anything.
More photos here.