Day 51 – IAT Mile 1007.9 to 1033.0

Losing gear on the trail is never a good feeling.  You never want to leave trash for others to have to pick up and everything you’re carrying is something you need.  I didn’t lose any gear for the first 5 or 6 weeks of this hike.  Since Brianna’s injury, I have managed to lose almost all of my sun gear.  My Glacier gloves got left on the shelf of a bathroom, my Duluth wet towel untied itself and fell of my pack at some point in the last few days, AND today of all hot and sunny days, I left my sunglasses at a park across the street from an ice cream shop.  Yes, I got my ice cream, but not before the world took its latest pound of flesh.

When Brianna picked me up off the road at sunset last night, we drove down the same roads I would be walking the next day to get a feel for how much walking room I might have, what the hills would look like.  How exciting it was to drive by an ice cream shop just 4 miles down the road! Brianna promised to drive me back later in the day since it wouldn’t be opening until 0800 and I would be starting the trail nearer to 0600.

How did I lose my Oakley’s at an ice cream shop before it opened?  The ice cream shop has a nice little park across the street with a porta-pottie, picnic tables and a bench.  4 miles into my day seemed like a good time to stop for a quick break, so I did.  My sun glasses fell off my head and behind a bench as I was getting up to use the bathroom.  Instead of enduring the pain of bending over to fetch them, I went to use the bathroom instead, more than sure I’d remember to get them upon my return.  There is a phenomenon called the ‘doorway effect’ that says the human brain loses short term memory after walking through a doorway.  I did not remember my sunglasses were gone until after I had packed back up and walked several miles down the road.

Brianna was true to her word and picked me up around 10am for a drive back to the ice cream shop.  I wasn’t too concerned about forgetting my sunglasses, I knew we would be back and they were scratched all to hell.  Imagine my surprise when they were gone, just 2.5 hours after I had left them.  No one at the ice cream shop had seen my sun glasses.  They weren’t in the trash cans.  My sun glasses are gone.

The ice cream shop, Pine River Dairy, was a cool little stop.  My only recommendation to anyone who goes there is to get 5 or 6 scoops of ice cream.  They only charge .25¢ per scoop and the scoops are understandably small.  They also have over 250 types of cheese for sale… how people know enough about cheese to navigate that kind of selection blows my mind.  I felt silly buying string pepper jack cheese, but I did anyway, because local Wisconsin cheese is great stuff.

Our hike into Manitowoc and Three Rivers was quite the change in scenery.  Manitowoc had beautiful beaches on Lake Michigan, with no people.  Brianna and I had lunch on a picnic table right next to the lake and enjoyed the relative silence.  Three Rivers had beautiful beaches with hundreds of people.  I’m not sure why one is more popular than the other, I only went so far as to dip my feet in the water before deciding I would not be dunking my whole self in.

We are spending the night in our tent at Point Beach State Park, just north up the road from where we stopped for the day.  It’s a huge campground that took us 4 wrong turns down one way streets before finding our site.  Tomorrow starts with a walk on the beach!

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