Woods Lake to Silver Lake – Day 2
Day 2 – 08/24/2023
Woke up peacefully at about 6:30AM at Woods Lake. The loons called all night and the campsite was on the slightest angle because we all ended up bunched in the bottom of our tents. The sky was gray and there was a slight fog on the lake, maybe threatening to rain later on. Baby Legs had already gotten up and was having her oatmeal by the firepit. I knew this was the signal to get moving so I reluctantly got out of my sleeping bag and got changed for the day.
Going through the morning routine, I grabbed my bear bag and sat by the stone fire pit quietly with my tramily mumbling about the day ahead of us. Collectively we agreed that Silver Lake lean-to would be a good goal. The lean-to sat on another pretty wilderness lake about 12 miles ahead. We were hopeful the sun would break through, and we dreamed of swimming and frolicking in the late sun’s golden light. A good thought to hang our hopes on!
Trying to avoid our notorious 9am starts we packed up earlier and carefully put our lives back into our backpacks. Preemptively, we put our rain flys on too. Studying the map, we noticed there would be three-foot bridges before Alder Brook and then just a few short sections after that to help break down our day into digestible pieces about 2 miles at a time. Easy peasy!
Within a mile we crossed the first log bridge and Baby Legs slowly broke away from us through the forest and out of sight. As quick as she vanished, we happened upon a beautiful patch of large chanterelles that were absolutely picture perfect. I was so excited—I have seen large patches of chanterelles but never this big and this beautiful. It was funny because Grey Squirrel, who we chatted with the day before, was insistent he knew chanterelles and swore he saw absolutely none. Plus, there were so many yellow wax caps out, I thought my eyes were tricking me. Then when Tarzan confirmed, my trusty and fully loved mushroom fetcher, I began to notice a handful more specimens nestled in the sugarbush. We collected 3 big mature beauties and stashed them in my mushroom bag hanging from Tarzan’s already oversized pack.
Alder Brook – Checkpoint #1
As we continued on toward the first checkpoint at Alder Brook the trail reminded me of trails back home by the coast. Rolling, predictable hills, full of leaf litter and hardwoods like maple, oak, and beech. We passed a number of log bridges which confused us because there were only 3 marked on the map. By the fourth bridge we took our packs off and rested. On a downed maple we saw the first large comb tooth hericium and it was so pretty!
I was feeling tired and frustrated. Curving my expectations on trail prove difficult for me. Especially when I really can’t tell where I am or how far I’ve come. One of the downsides of manual navigation with just a map and guide. But, at the same time I love this challenge. As Baby Legs always tells us, trail is for “character development.” The fact that I was eating this time was a blessing though and that fact I was grateful for. Usually I am so beyond overexerted I lose my appetite, so this was nice to be fueling my body appropriately! I ate a Lenny and Larry’s Protein Cookie and some fruit leather which I topped off with some sour patch kids.
Greeting Fall. Sort of.
Baby Legs was waiting for us at Alder Brook where we decided to meet up again at the bridge that leads out to the road about 5.3 miles from the lean-to. The day was still super gray, so our hopes of an afternoon swim were dwindling. I laid on the log bridge face first over the water for about 10 minutes to quell my inner frustration before having a snack. As we looked around, we noticed that there were leaves falling from the trees! Tarzan was yelling at them, “You stop that right now!” It was honestly pretty comical!
Shortly after Baby Legs took off, we pulled our packs back on our backs and pushed ourselves to the next checkpoint. The trail started to get a bit more challenging with steeper grades up and down along the river’s edge. The sky got darker, and I got nervous. I hate walking in the rain! We all know that even with a rain fly, you pack still gets wet as the rain falls down your back. Too much to worry about!
Godfrey Road Trail – Checkpoint #2
When we arrived at the intersection and campsite near the 5.3 to Silver Lake lean-to sign, I sat right down and pulled out my stove to make ramen and sliced up two chanterelles to add to my lunch. Everything was starting to hurt but I ignored my body’s pleas to stop hiking, naturally! Baby Legs and Tarzan took the opportunity to get in the river for a cold plunge. They urged me to join them, but I wasn’t keen on getting wet…
By the time I wrapped up my lunch and my tramily dried off it started to sprinkle. Quickly, we packed our bags. My panic set in a bit and we determined we could get to Silver Lake lean-to in about 3-4 hours. Being positive, Tarzan assured us that the rain wouldn’t make it through the canopy. I knew better than that!
Before long it was straight up pouring. Totally PISSING. We were hiking as a tramily this section and took our first short break in the rain at Rock Lake. Each of us reached for a snack. Protein bars and Gu for the sane people in my tramily. For me? Sour Patch Kids and Nuun. Because I’m the slowest hiker in the pack, Tarzan and I headed out first so Baby Legs would catch us.
Fungi Report 2
We didn’t get more than .1 down the trail before Tarzan turned around and noticed a huge bears head tooth mushroom that was probably the size of an eight-year-olds head. Suddenly, it didn’t feel like it was raining anymore. Unfortunately, the fungus was a little old, but that didn’t stop us from celebrating! The find inspired many possible Instagram Reel ideas like the sound byte from the Lion King “It is Time” and Tarzan would hand me a knife to cut the fungus. Silly things like that. Finally, I was smiling and laughing. Forgetting about our hike Baby Legs appeared and thought it was pretty funny we made it literally nowhere!
To Silver Lake
The rain really did let up for a few moments, but the trail got muddier and muddier. Hopping from rock to rock, stick to stick just to avoid a shoeful of mud. It’s tiring. Then the rain started again, heavier than before. The trail started to climb. Steady and thickly overgrown. Slap slap slap. The branches whacking you and drenching your clothes with the rain that collected on its leaves. We heard water up ahead and got excited we might be at the outlet of Silver Lake. Wrong. The waterfall was lovely and unmarked. So lovely we actually enjoyed looking at it for a while in the pouring rain.
In natural order, Baby Legs took off first. Tired of the rain she was ready to power through to home. We had to be close at this point, just had to pass Mecco Lake and round Silver Lake. The trail was up up up for quite a while, and we got mud pits up to our ankles. I didn’t know we had to pass Mecco Lake first and got so excited to see brightness on the horizon. The trail continued to be overgrown and tight all along the lakeside.
Continuing beyond Mecco Lake the trail finally reached Silver Lake. It’s a peaceful and calm lake with many tributaries and a ton of blow downs to manage before finally reaching respite. I was about ready to cry by the time we made it to shelter up the hill. It was such a shame it was raining so hard. The campsite at the lake is flat, grassy, and has a great fire pit!
Speaking of fire, as testament to how hard it was raining, Tarzan couldn’t get the fire going and that’s rare! It was certainly chilly, but our hot meals warmed our souls. We were all pretty beat from the last 5.3 miles. I even passed out perched on my elbows with my guidebook in my hand. We decided if it was still raining in the morning, we’d get a late start and start dry. Agreed!
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