Apr 10, 2011

The assault on Bomber Mountain - 11, Gunboat and Fortress Lakes

How did Bomber Mountain get its name, you wonder?  Glad you asked.

Rewind to WWII.  A B17 Flying Fortress bomber plane was heading east to Europe, ready to unload some hot packages on the Germans.  Pushing through dense fog, a moonless night and malfunctioning navigation equipment, it crashed into this Wyoming mountain in 1943.  Ten young men died.  Today, 65 years later, a plaque at Lake Florence and aluminum bits of wreckage can be found near the crest of the mountain.  Tomorrow, we'd step off the trail and claw up 3,000 vertical feet against gravity to try and locate the wreckage. 

After lunch, we hauled past Fortress and Gunboat Lakes on a two mile recon trip to Lake Florence, which squats at the base of Bomber Mountain.  Along the way, marmots popped their heads from the rocks and chattered at us.  Fish did his best to peg them with shrapnel.    

"I hate these things! I'm gonna get you!!" he yelled.     

They tucked down briefly to avoid Fish's rock bombs, then popped up again to cuss.  Marmots were going Chuck E. Cheese on  him.

We passed Gunboat (above left) and Fortress Lakes.  Squint to see the thin thread of the footpath splitting them.  We'd just come from there, I turned and ka-chunked the camera shutter.

Fish's safari shirt was by chance cut in the same pattern as the rocks rising in front of him.  As he moved out, his torso disappeared chameleon style, we could only see his bobbing hat and gargantuan calves.

Gawked at Lake Florence, Bomber Mountain is behind us in this photo.  Although it doesn't look so, that small snow triangle top center is 700 feet above the lake, according to the topo map.  It was difficult to judge scale and distance with the landscape eating us, we were small.  

We compared the map with eyeballs to ensure we understood the lay of the land.  Bomber Mountain butts directly to Florence, this is the spot tomorrow to exit the trail and climb.  We craned up and plotted the snaking route we'd scramble up, but couldn’t see very far before the rock angled out of sight. 

The three of us returned to camp, Fish pulled out the pole and fished for trout.  They weren't hungry for lures today.    

My hat blew off. 

On the buffet was was chicken tetrazzini, instant garlic potatoes and freeze dried green beans.  The potatoes got the thumbs up; they required only one minute to cook, thickened into a pound of salty starch and were buttery on the tongue.  Nice and hardy stick to the ribs quality to ‘em.  We bragged on about the lunch lady taters. 

“Beard, there’s another apple cobbler in my bag, why don't you cook it up”, said Fish.  

“Not on my life, you do it!” I demanded.    

The apple cobbler was the lone item that followed us out of the Big Horns and back to Fish's kitchen cupboard. 

I retreated to the Moon to pull three gallons of water.  600 reps on the pump, but I didn't mind.  Some alone time to relax and stare at nature.  And a sly way of weaseling out of sudsing dirty dishes. 

Fish helped Sherpa wash potatoey plates.  He later told me he overheard Sherpa muttering under his breath about the dishes, he didn't much like washing them.  Hey, Fish and I cooked the meals, I filtered most of the water, so we thought it was fair.  Plus, Sherpa mustn't overlook the biodegradable Camp Suds dish soap making his hands soft and supple.  

Piled on the nighttime body armor of base layer, two mid layers, outer shell and winter hat as the sun skedaddled.  Hit the sack at a toddler-like 8:15 pm, read a little, then did my best to ignore the glacier spring gurgling 4' from my tent.  The sound of water flowing wrecked havoc on my mind and bladder.  Felt like I had an incontinence issue.    

Do I really need to go or is that stream making me think I need to, I wondered?   

I asked that question six times that night.  I visited the outdoor tinkle pit six times.   

Would we make it to the top of Bomber tomorrow?

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous6/10/2015

    Makes me wistful for adventure!


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