Thursday, June 28, 2012

Day 68-Survival Skills

Mile 1097 to mile ? at Richardson Lake

It was not a restful night last night-too windy and too much slope. I was thankful for morning, tired as I was. As we left camp, but before we were back on trail, Portrait, who was in the lead flushed out a grouse and two of her chicks. Nothing gets the heart going like flushing a grouse and than make you laugh at yourself.

Lunch:  bagel with cheddar cheese, sausage and avocado
The trail continued to follow the lake shore to the end of the lake before switchbacking uphill so it could follow the shore of more lakes. It was taking us towards Aloha Lake which may be the biggest lake I've seen on trail (Tahoe would be an exception). Aloha Lake had massive boulders mostly submerged under the water. It looked like a game of Battleship and Aloha was loosing.

We crossed another hundred miles off our hike. At the 1100 mile mark we built a carin and a mile marker and had a snack. As we worked we planned a marker for the 1111.11 mile-which I was way more excited for.
lunch was at the top of a pass-a bagel with sausage, cheese, and avocado.  I had been looking forward to eating it all morning and it was as good as I hoped for.  It was really nice up on the pass as well it overlooked lakes on both side of the ridge and the winds were calm. It was the type of place I could have lingered in for longer than lunch. As a bonus, after lunch none of my food hung from a shopping bag. It was still too much food for the stretch.

It was one of those days where lunch made me more tired. I was having a hard time focusing on the hike down. Until we got to a little lake. It looked shallow, so I figured it was warmer than most of the ones we've been walking past. It did seem to be a nice temp when I stuck my hand in so off went the shoes, socks, and pant legs for a little bit of wading. I sunk up to my ankles in the finest pond muck. I perched on a big half submerged rock and debated the merits of braving the muck and going all the way in or joining the guys on the shore. I decided all in. It was the first water I've been in on this trip that did not feel like a kick to the stomach when getting in. It didn't even give me goosebumps.

Back on shore I dried off and we all had snack. The rock we were on was perfect to stretch out on. We all fell into a light doze for a bit. Just those few minutes of sleep made the hiking easier.

We left our little lake to hike along a huge sparkling blue lake that would have been way to cold for swimming. The trail followed it for about a half mile than plunged into the woods just in time for the 1111.11 mile mark. The mosquitoes didn't like our idea and they didn't let us stop for long. It was a pretty lame mile marker that people probably won't see. Hopefully a better one is made at mile 2222.22.

From there it was time to go to camp.  We wanted an early night after last night's after dark arrival and poor night's sleep. And I wanted a campfire. My marshmallows weren't getting any nicer in my pack. We walked a few more miles to Richardson Lake. And what did we see as we approach?  A campfire. And our hope for an early night evaporating.

There was a group of fathers out with their young daughters for a weekend of survival skill training-learning how to use a GPS to a bow and arrow. They welcomed us right into their group with the usual questions and more than the usual amount of awe. Next thing I know I have my cook pot in one hand, a chili dog in the other, and a PBR in the drink-holder of a folding chair. One dad was impressed by me eating two chili dogs and all I could think was he should have seen me at the buffet.

Their fire was too hot for good marshmallows, but I found a decent spot of coals for roasting. I do worry about a survival group that doesn't know two foot high flames are horrible for roasting marshmallows.  We stayed at their fire until 10 then went off to find places to camp and hopefully sleep (but I remember enough sleep overs from when I was the same age as the girls' and sleep seemed unlikely).

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