[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

[at-l] Trip Report: first solo overnighter (Pt.2)

Hey all;
        I figured I'd split it into two parts because it seems longer than I
thought it would be.  Here's the rest....

05/20 (Tuesday)

Slept like a log through the night -- it was only 2100 when I fell asleep
and I woke up most of the way at around 0700.  I only woke up once through
the night and thought I heard  something moving around out by where my food
bag was so I just yelled at it to "get outta here" and then went back into
my comatose state. :)  It was probably a moose whose fresh tracks I saw when
I finally headed out again.  It got a little chilly in the night (5C) but I
was toasty warm in my sleeping bag (Army issue -- *heavy*!) with my Ranger
blanket over me.  It was still a wee bit nippy in the morning which was part
of the reason I procrastinated about leaving till 0900.  Once I got going on
the trail again I was warm even though it was still quite windy and a little
cooler than the day before.  I forgot to mention in the last "installment"
that it did rain before I set up camp for the night, but it was only for an
hour and since I was under the trees I barely even noticed it.  Lucky me!!
:)  The sky looked pretty much the same when I left the campsite, so I
figured it would rain on me sometime during my trip back out.  As I walked
past the 2 canoe campsites that I was too bagged the night before to look
at, I came across the last backpackers' site on Head Lake and decided that's
where I'm staying next time I go out there!  It's pretty much right off the
trail, but it's *so perfect*.... you have a gorgeous view of the lake which
is surrounded on all sides by evergreens of all sorts, it's right on the
lake so you only have to walk about 10 steps to get some water, and the
whole site is perfectly flat. Mmmm.....  Next came Harness Lake which was
also really nice.  It has more campsites than Head Lake so probably is more
likely to be crowded during peak camping season, although the distance you'd
have to walk would probably deter your average (but I do hate to generalize)
car-camper type.  Both lakes are very accessible to canoers and Harness Lake
has an island in the middle for them.  

Just after leaving Harness Lake, I heard a rustling in the leaves next to me
and, expecting to see a red squirrel or chipmunk, I looked up into the tree
next to me only to come face to face with the first martin I've ever seen!
It was bigger than my cat, and my cat weighs 10 pounds!!  That was really
neat.  He/she wasn't scared of me, just inquisitive but like it didn't want
to be *too* close to me.  So I stood there and talked to the martin for 5
minutes while it sat there going, "What a nutcase! Get outta here!" <g>  So
off I went... 

I'll take this opportunity to say how deceiving the map I have is.  It's
terrible!!  It lets you know what to expect in what order, but for mileages
and terrain, forget it!  That said, on with the story. :))

Walked down past Mosquito Lake, some marshy areas that would likely be
fantastic for viewing moose in the morning, and got to the Fly Lake area at
around 1400.  Decided it would be a good place for lunch since there was a
campsite right off the trail and it was pretty close to a stream connecting
two parts of Fly Lake.  Yet another excellent spot for filtering some water!
:))  There was a big flat rock on the edge of the stream that I could sit on
& sit my water bag on while I filtered.  That done, I headed back to the
site and got out the stove.  As I was getting everything ready I heard what
I thought at first was another hiker.  Then I realized that the noise (which
was a steady walking kind of sound) wasn't coming from the trail...it was
coming from the other side of the site where the stream ran along.  I figure
I almost saw a moose out there, but by the time I got over there it was
gone. :(  I was probably hogging its favorite spot for lunch!  It was also
right before getting to Fly Lake that  I saw what I thought was bear scat on
the trail.  Also a lot of signs of wolves in the area.  Janine had told me
if I spent the night in that area that I'd likely hear the wolves howling,
but I figure that even if I could've heard them from Head Lake I would've
been too far asleep to notice.  Ah well, I'll have to try again.  Algonquin
is known for having several wolf packs inside its boundaries. Yay!!! :))))
It was at Fly Lake that I started thinking that maybe I should just take the
"middle part of the "8" " and cut back over Provoking Lake since it was a
shorter route than completing the "8".  My knees hadn't improved much from
resting them overnight, and even though I had popped a couple of Naproxin &
put a brace on the one that was bothering me most, they were still giving me

About 45 minutes after leaving Fly Lake I got to a section that Janine had
warned me about -- it went *up* 450 feet in the space of half to 3/4 of a
kilometre.  I'd have to say that it was the hardest bit cardiovascular-wise
but that was okay because for my knees' sake I have to say thank God it was
all uphill!!  It didn't bother them half as much.  It was only about half an
hour after I finished that when I reached the junction where the first loop
meets the second loop.  From there the map told me it was only 2.4
kilometres to get to the point where the other side of the first loop met
with the other side of the second loop.  Liar!!!  Is it just me, or should
the people who make these maps have to walk the trails of which they speak?
:))  Anyway, it took *forever*, it was *extremely* muddy (like, almost suck
the boot off your foot muddy!), and there were plenty of downhills.  It was
at this point that I pondered as to whether I was being punished by karma
for something I'd done in a past life..... ;)  However, I finally made it to
the junction and from there it wasn't *too* bad along the way to the
approach trail.  Once I got to the approach trail, I realized that since the
whole approach was uphill when I got there, it would now be downhill...
all....the....waaaayyyyyy.... <sigh>.  That was nasty.  And I couldn't, not
for the life of me, remember the approach being that long and brutal on the
way in as it was on the way out!  My state of mind was rapidly going
downhill along with the rest of me (I'd run out of chocolate bars / sugar a
long way back), and the pain was making me think stupid thoughts like,
"Jeez, if it was winter I could probably slide all the way down to the
parking lot on my butt!"  I have to say I was almost to the point of tears
halfway back to the car.  Of course it was mostly a mental thing.  I was
doing the big "my knees and feet hurt and I wanna go home" thing, not to
mention losing my concentration by thinking about the fact that it would be
at least 2300 when I got home and then I had to wake up the next morning to
go play Army for the day.  

**Lesson learned: live in the now when you're hiking and don't let
distractions get you down, especially if it's not something you absolutely
have to think about! 

 Anyway, I did finally get to the entrance at  1830. :)  I took my boots off
so my feet could breathe in my Tevas on the drive home -- boy were my feet
ugly!  No blisters or hotspots, I'm glad to say, but the bottoms of my toes
& balls of my feet were white and soggy looking <?>.  Eeeww.  The only
reason I could think of for that happening is that I was wearing my Wigwam
socks that day....the day before when I was wearing Thorlos they were fine..
hmmm...  After a physical inventory, I found I wasn't in too bad of shape.
Just some slight bruises on my hips from the hip belt (nothing serious at
all), the muscles just slightly below my hips were pretty sore, calves were
sore, knees were very unhappy, achilles were sore, and my feet were in agony
which may or may not have had anything to do with the fact that the trail is
covered from one end to the other with roots & rocks.  Of course, my morale
increased tremendously when I stopped a few towns out of Algonquin for a
Wendy's burger and Timmy's coffee.. <<g>>   

All in all, it was an amazing hike and I'd do it all over again I'm sure.
:))  It helped point out my weak spots, especially how I have to work on
appreciating where I am at the moment instead of going, "Arg! This is taking
forever and it hurts!"  It was a real chore towards the end, but once in a
while I'd force myself to stop, take a look around, and admire whatever I
was surrounded by, instead of complaining and letting my attitude go all to
cr*p.  It's a start, anyway. ;)  And, just to make me feel better I think,
it started to rain in the park (for the first time that day) just as I left
the parking lot. <<g>> 

Thanks for listening to me ramble on (if ya made it this far! ;))...

Take care,

* From the Appalachian Trail Mailing List | For info http://www.hack.net/lists *