Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Post-Trip: Harrison Hills Part Two

Though the first stretch was taxing on my morale, meeting up with Bob had boosted it. He was fresh and excited to be on the trail, and this spread to me. Almost immediately I started feeling better. The terrain was getting worse though, the hills more frequent. I had planned to start eating chocolate covered peanuts (bad idea, they got melty fast) but my hands were constantly busy. I had planned on making a little better speed than we were, but the grueling constant hill climbing was taking it's toll on our progress. Still, we pushed our way in, battling the terrain until we topped a hill near Bus Lake, roughly a third of the way in.

Taking a break and digging into our snacks, we spotted a group's car-camping (ATV camping?) site on the side of the lake, but saw no trail that led down to it. I expressed a desire to filter some water, and we began talking of stopping for lunch soon. We wanted to see if we could find a trail over to that area which appeared to have good lake access, and so we continued around the lake. It led us down and away from the site we'd seen and I was beginning to think about filtering from where we were. We stopped to try and identify some object in the middle of the lake, when another Hiker hailed us.

Jim from Waupaca was 800 some miles into the trail, headed westbound to the terminus at Interstate Park. We chatted awhile, taking the opportunity to rest and learn from an IAT through-hiker. I envied his mesh bug net that encompassed his face, little did I know how badly I would want something like that before the day was through. Learned that on average he was getting something on the order of 17 miles a day, and had some support in terms of resupply from his wife. We didn't want to hold him for too long, and soon bid him adieu, continuing a little further.

A side-trail lead us onto an isthmus in the lake, and noting the relatively clean ground, comfortable shade, and pleasant, mosquito-banishing, crossbreeze off the lake we decided to have lunch here. I unpacked my supplies and began cooking a Cheesy Broccoli Rice to mix with my Salmon Packet. Bob enjoyed a sandwich he had prepared and some Cheese Nips he had packed. We finished my raisins. Looked at where I'd filter my water as I cooked. We heard the campers across the lake return and were glad that we hadn't cut over to their site after all. Lunch was delicious and foritfying, and absolutely necessary for what would come next. 

Filtering water turned out much easier with an accomplice to help hold the bottles and bag, but the water was weedy as far out as I could reach, and the weeds trapped a bit of slime in there. In my post-mortem analysis of our later adventures, I begin to suspect that this slime was in part responsible for the degredation in my filter's performance (at the worst possible time). But we pumped our fill before continuing on.

It was around this time that we noticed the Ticks. 

Attempting to hitch a ride on our boots, we found that our lunch spot had harbored some ticks that we had not expected. We executed a thorough inspection, redoubled our application of  bug spray, tucked our clothes a little more securely and continued on.

Tomorrow? Part 3: The Ascent.

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