Friday, July 13, 2018

Day 5: The last day of slackpacking

June 4: We had planned a relatively short 10-mile day of hiking today, so I let Blueberry sleep in late. I didn't record exactly when we hit the trail, but the sun was high and hot and it turned out to be a pretty wretched 10 miles of trail.


Amanda dropped the two of us off at the Hartley Nature Center and the trail quickly exited the park then followed some roads to the edge of town, then spent most of the day following snowmobile routes.

It was awful! There was no other word to describe it. The snowmobile routes were very wet, muddy, boggy and buggy. There was precious little shade and the sun radiated heat like we were in an oven. A humid oven at that. We didn't even have the enjoyment of expansive views along the trail either. Blueberry and I really had nothing good to say about this section of trail and our tick count continued to climb.

But with only about 10 miles to cover, we finished in a few hours and Amanda picked us up and whisked us off the trail. We stopped at Taco John's for lunch where Blueberry and I poured over maps and distances to figure out our next resupply. Amanda would be leaving in the morning and from here on out, we were on our own. We'd be living in the woods like hermits, poking our heads into civilization occasionally to resupply. We needed to figure out where we'd resupply so we knew how much food we should carry.

The guidebook for the Superior Hiking Trail was designed for day hikers which I found frustrating. Besides being a ridiculously large and heavy book, there was nothing that showed distances between any two points along the trail--just the distance of each trail segment described. So I had to add up all the distances myself, figure out how far campsites were from each other, and I spent over an hour figuring out all the numbers.

But finally we figured out a plan and decided that we'd take five or six days to reach Silver Bay for resupply. Unfortunately, we'd be arriving on a weekend when the post office was closed, so I still need to figure out where to ship my laptop and settled on Tofte another five or so days up the trail.


From there, we went to the supermarket to do our grocery shopping. Blueberry and I liked the idea of having peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch and I agreed to carry the jelly if he carried the peanut butter. Those jars are heavy! We ended up each buying our own bread for the sandwiches. Blueberry joked that if we were starting the Appalachian Trail and didn't have trailnames already, we'd end up being called Peanut Butter and Jelly. Him being the Peanut Butter since that's what he carried and I being Jelly since that's what I would carry.

Then we headed back to the KOA for the night where we repacked our food and prepped for our morning departure before binge watching more of Good Girls in the TV room most of the night.

Amanda had fallen asleep in the TV room and I tried to wake her up to get back to the campsite, pulling her up off the chair she had fallen asleep in. In her half-conscious state, she packed a bunch of her stuff in a paper sack to take back, which apparently included a cup of red wine that fell over in the bag and started dripping onto the floor. Flustered, she set the bag down on the growing stain, covering it over and seemingly proud of herself for her quick thinking.

That was not a good solution. The wine was still leaking out of the paper bag and just making the stain larger! I grabbed the bag, which was still dripping wine, and Amanda scolded me for getting the dripping wine everywhere. "It's dripping!" she exclaimed. "You're getting it everywhere!"

I ignored her and opened the door and set the bag outside where it could make all the mess it wanted. Yes, it dropped a few drops along the way, but it seemed a lot less messier overall than leaving the stain to get bigger and bigger.

With the immediate crisis out of the way, it was time to clean up the stain which we did the best we could, then walked back to the campsite.

Amanda planned to sleep in the car because she's very claustrophobic in the tent, and she got into the driver's seat. I suggested that she move to the passenger seat--she'd have more room to lay down and relax without a steering wheel in the way, but she shooed me off saying she was fine. In the dark, however, she couldn't find a light to turn on. I, remembering that there were lights on the visor, opened the visor and turned on a light for her.

She closed the visor, then complained again about not finding a light. Amanda! Wake up! *rolling eyes*

I opened the visor again and told her to leave it open until she found her flashlight. Amanda started rummaging around the car again, and I went to the tent to sleep. I heard the beep of the car signaling that she locked it with the remote, and it beeped a couple of more times. I shook my head thinking, she's going to set off the car alarm. I just know it. She's going to set it off in the middle of a campground in the middle of the night. Wonderful.

The rental car beeped a couple of more times, and then it happened. HONK-HONK-HONK-HONK....

The car alarm had gone off. Lights were flashing. I had little doubt that everyone in the campground was now awake if they weren't before. I just laughed, giggling like a school girl.

The alarm continued for maybe 10 seconds, but it felt like 10 minutes before finally going off again. I got out of the tent to see how Amanda was doing, and she was still in the driver's seat with the window rolled down and looked at me with sad, pleading eyes saying that she was trapped. She couldn't get out of the car without the alarm going off.

I couldn't help but laugh some more. It was like she was sleep-walking through life now. Click the unlock button on the keys, I told her, then you can exit the car. She decided it was safer just to stay in the driver's seat, however, and quickly went to sleep. I went back to the tent and soon did the same without anymore car alarms going off the rest of the night. =)



The Martin Road Parking Lot is where the start of the "traditional" thru-hike begins since there are now backcountry campsites available to SHT hikers. Until now, there was no camping on the trail except for the one campsite at the VERY beginning of the trail.

You can't see it in most of the photos because it's covered with grass, but this section of the trail was covered with lots of mud and water and the bugs were absolutely awful!

We had to slow down to 30 mph when we reached this section of the trail. *nodding*
Blueberry tries wearing a little bark in his hair. I think it's a good look for him! =)



Even when they install bog bridges through the wet areas, they'd often sink into the water when we stepped on them!
 
The Blueberry Diaries....





Woodpecker!

Blueberry and I examine our bread options for our peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. =)