Day 18 – IAT Mile 280.5 to 292.4

Mel, Brianna & I were all up and out of bed by 0430 this morning.  Brianna jumped in the shower while I made toast with jam and some banana slices.  We didn’t have to be up early this morning, only a 12 mile day, but Brianna and I are strong in our resolve to start hiking earlier, take more breaks, finish the day earlier.

The Mel goodbye was hard, of course.  Seeing him is always a good time.  He hooked us up with everything we could ask for and more. This reprieve could not have been better timed.  We physically and mentally needed a break.  Not to mention the 7 day stretch that started today.

The next 7 days of hiking is interesting because there are large gaps where camping is not allowed.  This is why today is only a 12 mile day followed by a 24 mile day.  There is no camping we can use for those 24 miles, we have to shoot the gap in a single go of it.

Today’s hike started with a 2-mile Rib Lake segment, followed promptly by Wood Lake.  Rib Lake was beautiful and easy walking.  It wasn’t raining this morning, but it did last night.  Rain in the night, trees weep til morning’s light = we got rained on.

Wood Lake was challenging.  The rugged trail mixed with slippery everything made for a challenge.  I tripped and slipped a few times.  Brianna smacked her injured shin on a downed tree.  She later told me the pain was so bad that she wanted to vomit.

If I had to choose a most memorable part of our day it was near the beginning of the Wood Lake hike.  I’ve seen over a hundred beavers dams on this hike alone by now, I continue to be amazed by those industrious critters.  Today we saw what I can only think to call a beaver dam staircase.  There was a top beaver dam stopping a pond, followed by three more dams down the creek the pond was flowing to.  I tried to take a picture, doesn’t do it justice.

Halfway through our day’s hike, a Taylor County Forestry truck rolled by us.  The driver was a younger gentleman by the name of Jordan, he rolled down the window and asked if we needed anything.  We said no and made some small talk about our plans to stay in Wood Lake before continuing on in separate directions.

Wood Lake County Park is home for the night.  I’m not sure how many sites there are in total, definitely no one in any of the 5 or 6 sites around us.  Our Guthooks app advertised this campground as only having 4 sites, which made us concerned for what might happen if we arrived and they were all taken.  All that worry for nothing.  We are a short distance from the bathrooms, the water pump, completely alone @ $10 a night!

Early day tomorrow to beat the heat.  Wish us luck, last we knew a storm was coming… no service here to verify 😮