On our own again!

Double zeros and a hike!

Day 7 was a planned zero with lots of planning chores.
Day 8 was an unplanned zero because of predicted ridiculously high temperatures for this time of year. The high temps never happened but it was nice to have another day to relax.
Day 9 we hiked!
~20 miles to Devils Creek

We walk about 1.5 miles out of town to get back to the ice age trail. There are two miles of road but then it’s trail the rest of the day. In the morning we follow scenic Hemlock creek and we have beautiful trail with wildflowers. We see our first trillium and yellow flowers I think are lilies. The trillium is the biggest I’ve ever seen. Gorgeous!

The other first today is less pleasant. Black flies! The little biting flies are flying in our face and ears. We soon give up trying to put up with them and cover our heads with a bug net. It adds warmth to my already hot head but it’s worth it to keep my sanity.

When I reach a nice little stream I fill up a bottle of water and dump it over my head. Cold!!! A couple more dumps and my face is a more normal temperature again. Phew!

We have lunch at a wonderful picnic shelter. Shade, no bugs. It’s heaven! There are even bathrooms and a trash bin!

I savor the left over pizza and banana I packed out from town and am happy to lighten my pack by eating them. This is only the second day we are carrying full packs (day one was the first day) and they feel heavy. We’re still moving at a decent pace because the terrain isn’t that challenging. When we do slow down it’s because the afternoon has us on two tracks with swampy sections. Navigating around the bogs and puddles is tedious. And at one point we have to cross over a beaver dam since the trail down below is severely flooded. I dunk my sandals in the water and mud quite a bit but at least they’re not soaked. Little Bird seems to fare better with her shoes. And we’re both happy not to twist an ankle on the uneven sticks and branches.

There is impressive amount of beautiful yellow flowers in the swamp, I should really learn more plant names (they’re marsh marigold).

A swamp called ‘lake of the hill’ has a gazillion frogs putting up a concert. It’s a cool sound even if the swamp is challenging to walk around.

Towards the end we are ready to call it done. The bugs are now trying to bite my arms and when I put sleeves on they aim for my shoulders. Little Bird got her first two ticks of the trip and I get about five for the day. We want to sit down for a break but the bugs and ticks are deterrents. We realize we really do need a break so we lay out my Z rest, keep our bug nets on and check each other for ticks. Then a tiny frog jumps on my mattress towards my crotch. Lol! We guide him off the mattress.

Another two miles brings us to Devils Creek and we get some clear water from a side stream. The creek is tannin brown and less appealing. While I filter I’m attacked by flies and I’m about to lose it. I keep it together long enough to find a tent site nearby and call it a day. The tent is a safe haven. I can finally relax again.

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