Day 22 & 23 Roosevelt Lake

Day 22

I had a hard time falling asleep the previous night so was a bit lazy getting up. Another hiker, Blaze, whom I had conversations with in the past arrived in the night. It was likely we both were heading to Roosevelt Lake Marina to pick up our mail drops. I headed out, ready for a nice second breakfast at the convenience store.

The trail was gentle and eventually met up with another rough single lane road. As I made it up a hill a massive lake came in to view. It was so strange to see at first. I had not seen a large body of water (except for some cow ponds) yet on the trail. The lake was so beautiful with the mountains looming in the background. I continued up the rough rocky road and was surrounded by wildflowers flanking the trail again. It really was such a awesome sight.

I made it down the hill and to the marina where there was an area for rvs or trailers, a large dock, small convenience store, restaurant and visitors center. I immediately headed to the visitors center to start the phone and battery charging. I saw Blaze, the other hiker already grabbing his package. The shelf was stacked with at least 30 packages. The store was very low on supplies as Far Out had warned but I had a nice unhealthy second breakfast.

I re-packed my food bag and grabbed another little snack that had been left in the hiker shed (a spot hikers can leave extra food they don’t need or want). I still had a while to go before my phone was charged and the restaurant had opened up so why not have an early lunch. The staff was nice and let me sit for a while near an outlet and the fresh food hit the spot.

Eventually I hauled myself out of the restaurant and started the massive climb out of town. Of course it was hot and sunny, it seems like all my climbs are in the hot sunny afternoon. I crossed my first bridge on this trail over Roosevelt Lake. The wildflowers were plentiful and I kept staring at them while putting one foot in front of the other. Hours went by…I was still climbing. This was tough and I saw several tent spots as I went. I was tempted to quit for the day each time but I knew I didn’t have enough water for the night because I was guzzling it.

I kept going and eventually made it to a small dirt road parking lot where I found TRAIL MAGIC. Cold sodas in a cooler! Mountain Dew?! Bring on the caffeine! I’m not a fast soda drinker and I had this can gone in minutes. Eric would have been so proud. This is my second trail magic, my first being a banana on my third day. I was hoping a little something would pop up and it came at such a good time. The caffeine and morale boost had me finishing up the last push faster than I anticipated and I arrived at my campsite happy. Also as if the trail magic weren’t enough, I saw my first road runner! He darted out of the bushes ahead of me, up the path and into another bush. Exciting! There was a nice clear stream flowing right next to my campsite and I had a really nice night enjoying cold fresh water, my new stash of food and happy thoughts of trail magic and road runners.

Day 23

I had a good night sleep and was sad to leave my lovely camp spot by creek. I had more up to do this morning so I started to climb. The area is very mountainous with lots of loose rocks. I know some of this area had been impacted by some fire damage from a few years ago. The view of Roosevelt Lake down below was stunning. The wildflowers are much less up at this elevation.

Finally most of the climb was done and the trail turned into a nice but rocky ridge walk. I leap frogged a couple hikers but was mostly on my own as usual. I’ve definitely become very accustomed to being on my own most of the day. My interactions with other hikers only lasting a few minutes at a time. It’s an interesting thing to learn about myself because while I enjoy nature, I’ve never known if I would enjoy it alone. Obviously having Eric with me is the ultimate enjoyment but it’s good to know I can also enjoy the solitude if needed.

I refilled my water bottles at Shake spring. The water was so clear and tasty. I can’t believe it was only a week ago I was drinking from cow ponds. I also realized I haven’t seen cows in a while. They used to be my constant companions. I enjoyed laying on rocks by the spring but knew I had to get going.

Eventually the trail met another rough single track road and I saw I would be on this for a while. It’s nice to have the space but the footing on this rough road was challenging. I felt myself slip sliding on the loose gravel. My shoes are starting to fall apart. I’m relieved there will be another pair waiting for me in Pine. The afternoon was uneventful and I hit my campsite in good time. I was slightly tempted to push another couple miles but my feet were sore and there was water at this site. I had a nice quiet night knowing harder terrain was coming soon, the Mazatzal wilderness was waiting for me.

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