Thursday, July 23, 2009

Near Charlton Butte

In the morning I made up my mind that my sanity was worth buying both a T-shirt and bug spray. I walked back to Shelter Cove and bought both with a cup off coffee and a pack of crumb donuts. My clothes were still went from washing them in the shower the evening before, so I set them out to dry while I read and sipped my coffee and generally avoided heading into the bugs.

By about 9:30 I felt I had procrastinated enough so with great trepidation I resumed my hike. It took almost an hour to get back to the trail. I learned I could have followed signs to Shelter Cove and followed more trails to get there. Another example of the guide book not matching reality.

I crossed a highway and went looking for the Ski Lodge. Yogi's book said you could eat there. I found the place but it was shut up tight as if it only opened in winter. I marched on, feeling pretty good thanks to the delicious Shelter Cove coffee.

AS I hiked up the mountain, many teens were hiking down. Then 2 adults. I asked them if they were in charge of the teens. They said no. I asked how the mosquitoes were up ahead. They said they weren't too bad. While we talked I could see them swarming all over them. I didn't much like the smell of DEET, and it made me a little dizzy, but I could see now that it smelled like victory. There were no mosquitoes on me.

One of the teens had asked me how far I was hiking. I told him to Canada. After I said that and passed him, I began to cry thinking about that. I didn't know why. I guess I felt overwhelmed. It seemed like such a long way and the obstacles were so daunting. The emotional struggle of just the mosquitoes was probably half the reason for crying. But I thought the other part was that I actually was beginning to think I might make it.

All through the day I passed by lots of pretty lakes and in between there were rarely views. There were ponds and swamps. I was swarmed only once and mostly did not wear my head net. My spirits were lifted.

I stopped at a nice largish lake called Carlton Lake to fill my water, cook my dinner and wash my feet. I heard noises and could see someone. After I was all packed up again, I went over to say hi. It was a couple with folding tables, a huge dome tent, wine glasses filled with wine and a huge fire. I asked how they got all this stuff up here. They pointed to their wheelbarrow and said there was a road very close by. Turned out the road was only about a tenth of a mile away. I suddenly wanted to someday just camp like that near a pretty lake and relax and swim and not rush off like thru-hikers have to do to get their miles in. As it was, I had been happy to dangle my feet in the water for a few minutes.

I pressed on hoping to make 20 miles today, which meant from Charlton Lake I needed 2 more miles. That would put me at a junction with a trail to Lily Lake. I climbed a small mountain named Charlton Butte. The trees were all dead. They were all broken in half. Some looked burned. Most were bleached white. I stopped when I saw a flat spot next to the trail. There would be fewer mosquitoes here. I had lost my urinary device and tonight, at least, maybe I would not need it.

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