Day 74: Roller Coaster of Bugs

June 24, 2014
19 miles today
989.75 miles total

We had a bit of a lazy morning, I looked at my watch several times but couldn’t be bothered to actually get up. That said we were still hiking before 8. It was a pretty morning, our day started with a climb then a decent. I got ahead on the downs.

I met Patrick at a stream crossing, he was filtering water. I had assumed it was the big one, but upon further investigation I pushed on three tenths of a mile more. There, as I was deciding which sketchy log to take across the creek I saw something out of the corner of my eye. At first I thought it was a hiker on the other side. But it was moving fairly quick. Then I saw it as it crossed the river. A beautiful coyote. It didn’t see me or smell me (shocking) as it wandered around. It was just so close and wonderful. It wasn’t until I attempted to get my camera out it noticed I was there. With that it took off in a run. It was a magical experience for sure. I am glad I pushed on to the larger crossing or I would never have had such a sweet interaction.

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After Arctic caught up we pushed on towards the big climb. It was full of switchbacks and lots of trees. The top was hard to find. We had intended on eating lunch at the top of the pass, but we never saw it. I ended up getting ahead once again and ate lunch in a sunny area with a good breeze.

The afternoon was a mix of climbing, mosquitoes, and beautiful flower lined trails. The bugs got so bad that I sprayed myself in bug spray and they just came back. It was a cloud of buzzing. We were warned by several folks that the bugs were bad. It reminded me of times up in the deep woods of Maine. I try to be zen, but after a while the thrill of killing 8 mosquitoes with one smack was more exciting.
The climbing wasn’t as bad as I had been thinking. The trail was in bloom, there were tons of amazing wildflowers in bloom the whole way up. It was as if the trail maintainers had planted beds of flowers next to the trail. It made me smile. How lovely.

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Eventually I made it to lake Wilmer where we planned to camp. The bugs were crazy, even more so then before. Every surface exposed or not was swarmed by the little beasts. I put my rain gear and head net on to set up my tent. Dinner was cooked down by the lake, it was kind of hilarious. So many bugs landed in my food. Extra protein.

I am now safely in my tent. My vestibule is covered in my little friends. But only a few sorry beasts made it inside. Gotta love the woods:)

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