Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Day 25: Bad rain! Bad!

June 24: My decision to not set up my tarp, in hindsight, was a terrible mistake. At about 1:30 in the morning, the rain started. And it wasn't a light sprinkle, or even a light sprinkle that gradually ramped up. No, this was a rain that went from 0 to 60 in about three seconds. It was sudden, and it was heavy.

I jumped up to quickly set up my tarp, but in the few minutes it took to set it up, everything was already wet. Not a "soaked to the bone" kind of wet, but.... still pretty wet, and I wasn't happy about the situation.

The rest of the night was therefore cold and miserable--but at least things didn't get worse once the tarp was up, and the rain stopped after about an hour.

In the morning, I lingered in camp late to give my gear a chance to dry out a bit. And anyhow, with a planned 11.2 miles to do today, I didn't have far to go. Maybe five solid hours of hiking. I could leave at noon and still make it to camp well before dark!

Blueberry slept in late as well because that's what Blueberry liked to do. =)

As it was, I left camp a few minutes after Blueberry at around 10:30. I hadn't been hiking for more than five minutes when I caught up with Blueberry who was stopped at a large tree snag and pointing up at it. "See the weasels?" he asked me.

I did! Well, I saw one of them, at least, but Blueberry said that there had been two of them. I wanted to get a photo of them, but they were hard to see through the thick tree brush and facing into the sun like they were, then the one I did see ducked into the snag and out of view. We waited a bit to see if he'd come out again, but he didn't and we continued down the trail. I'm still disappointed that I never got a photo of that. I don't think I'd ever seen a weasel in the wild before!

The trail wound it's way into Judge Magney State Park, following alongside the Brule River for several scenic miles and where hoards of day hikers had come out. The highlight of this section of trail was Devil's Kettle.

The Brule River split into two streams as it cascades and splits into two channels of water. The stream on the right falls down as a waterfall and continues downstream like a normal river, but the channel on the left appears to fall into a sinkhole and the water on that side just vanishes without a trace. It's a pretty substantial amount of water too and runs down the sinkhole and disappears.

The waterfall on the right works like a normal waterfall--it falls, then continues downstream. The stream on the left, however, is Devils Kettle. The water flows into a sinkhole... never to be seen again!
I heard stories that people have thrown in dyes and objects for years in an attempt to track where the water goes but without success. The logical place for it to go is into Lake Superior through an underwater cave system. Lake Superior could absorb that much water without anyone noticing, after all! But where, exactly, it comes out had been a mystery for hundreds if not thousands of years. At least that's allegedly the story.

Hiking Viking told us earlier that in recent years, they finally did figure out where the water went, and the answer was no great surprise: Lake Superior. So maybe Devils Kettle isn't as mysterious as it had once been, but it's still a wonder to behold!

The last few miles of the day things took a turn for the worse when the bugs came out in force. Mosquitoes seemed to very much enjoy the terrain the trail went through now, and the trail was considerably more boggy and wet. I guess that's the kind of terrain mosquitoes prefer.

Our goal had been the Hazel Campsite, and I caught up with Blueberry there but the campsite was a claustrophobic dump and overrun with mosquitoes.

I asked Blueberry if he wanted to try hiking on to the next campsite three more miles ahead--maybe the bugs wouldn't be as bad there. Maybe....

Not only were the bugs a problem, but the trail turned a lot muddier too!

But he didn't think it would be any better at the next campsite and preferred to stay put so we set up camp. I'm usually to tired and lazy to build fires, but the mosquitoes were bad enough that for the first time on the entire trip, I collected the bulk of the firewood. I wanted a fire! A big fire! With lots of smoke to discourage the mosquitoes! I also put on my bug outfit that covered my torso, arms and head.

Blueberry slunk into his sleeping bag to escape the onslaught, so I wound up keeping the fire going for most of the evening. It was as if our rolls had reversed.

Although I didn't get in my sleeping bag, I pulled it out to dry in what sun was left, which I'm happy to report had finally dried out from my misadventures earlier in the morning before slipping into it for the night.

Stupid bugs.....

The trail crosses the Brule River here, in Judge Magney State Park.
On the downstream side of the bridge, you can see where Highway 61 crosses the river.

Just in case you wanted to see Devils Kettle in action, I took a video too. =)

It was at the end of this road walk when the bugs really came out in force! Until then, they weren't noteworthy.

1 comment:

Karolina said...

1) ‚Blueberry slept in late’ - please, define ‚late’! ;-)
2) Too bad you missed the weasel I saw on the Kungsleden on one if those mornings I got a head start of you! The weasel was in plane view for several minutes. I stood still on a rock and the weasel seemed to be curious about me and at the same time afraid - it would come outtowards me a little bit, then jump back into the brush. That repeated for several minutes, with the weasel approaching me closer each time, until finally I got tired of warching it and continued on. That happened on the morning of the day we crossed the lake to Aktse. The weasel was so cute!