We started getting up at 7:00 but it was chilly and took some fortitude to put our still wet socks and shoes back on. After packing up our tents, we went to get our food bags and cook by the trail again. Although planning for an early start, we left about 8:30. I guess it’s earlier than yesterday.
The last forecast I’d seen showed fog in the morning burning off to mostly sunny all day. It sprinkled briefly while we were eating breakfast and then stayed mostly cloudy all day. The sun would occasionally peek through, warming the air all around, and then it would go away again and the whole forest would immediately get cooler.
I don’t know what happened to the beautiful trail of yesterday but today was all mud. There were giant patches of deep muddy trail everywhere. Thankfully there were usually rocks or logs to get around the mud on. And there were also a ton of downed trees. They had paths already made around them for the most part so they must have been down for a while.
We had plenty of streams to cross today too. Most were narrow and rock-hoppable. One wider crossing had some slightly too large gaps between the rocks. I went up and downstream for a bit looking for a better crossing but couldn’t find one. I ended up crossing using a few rocks that were just slightly underwater and only got a little new water in my shoes. Better than another full soaking. I had hoped to dry my shoes out today.
We got to the junction to Rock Lake right at noon and it started sprinkling again. There was plenty of leaf cover there so we decided to stop for lunch and see if the rain passed quickly. It did, and we were on the move again.
We made it to Silver Lake Lean-To for a break, only to find it empty of people but full of two guy’s things. Two machetes, two large knives, two hammers, a hatchet, not to mention glass bottles of liquor and all their food just sitting out. It’s people like that that create problem bears. I was tempted to throw their stuff all around like a bear had gotten to it but I refrained. We only sat for a few minutes and moved on to stop being annoyed by them.
We stopped for a longer snack break at the campsite at Canary Pond a couple miles later, which also had plenty of trash. After that was a note on my map saying, “Caution: Trail conditions may vary due to beaver activity.” Well, the beavers had been active. There was a lake where none existed on the map. The trail went around and crossed just below the beaver dam, then was flooded for quite a while.
Kelly’s been pretty sore and after our last break an old knee injury flared up so she was starting to move very slowly. I wasn’t sure we would make it to the Mud Lake Lean-to before dark so started coming up with alternate plans. We eventually decided that it would be better to be at a lean-to even if we had to hike in the dark to get there. That way we’d have a roof if it rains overnight and Kelly wouldn’t have to get up and down off the ground like she would sleeping in her tent.
I stopped and put new batteries in my headlamp to get ready since they’d been getting pretty dim. We made better time than I expected and got to the lean-to at 6:30. Still plenty of time to collect water and start dinner in the light. There was even a guy with a small fire started, which is always nice to come upon. He’s just out for the night but two women and their dog who are thru hiking are tenting nearby as well. After dinner, Kelly and I set up in the shelter to plan for tomorrow.
15.4 miles today.