Wrong turns and a missed connection

Day 28, 21 miles

I had a pleasant night at Lake Susan and am hopeful for a pleasant day. Unfortunately the mosquitos are out from the get go. Going to the bathroom is a frantic experience and I’m glad I’m on a dirt road and can walk fast. Once you stop all hope is lost.

After the road it’s mostly grassy ski tracks. And some bulldozed sandy road with lots of blowdowns. The mosquitos aren’t as crazy here but ticks roam freely. I do also see a turtle near a small pond and I promptly take a wrong turn. I see the sign and assume I’m leaving the bulldozer road to go back to grass. As I’m messaging with Dosu and Steady (both current ice age trail thru hikers) I check my location and oops! I’m close to crossing paths with Dosu but if I keep missing turns that won’t happen!

As it turns out it doesn’t happen anyways since he sees a detour sign telling Ice Age trail hikers to stay on county road J while I’m following the FarOut app and yellow blazes on my grassy tracks. We get within two miles of each other but never meet. What a bummer.

I cheer up when I get to the promised land. An enclosed ski shelter! Peace and quiet. No bugs. I place my sandals and socks outside in the sun while I enjoy the cool indoors. I look at my maps and do some planning and have an early lunch. When I pick my socks back up they are dry but stiff as a board. If I put those on now I’ll surely wear a hole in them so I stick them in a side pocket. 

There is a campground nearby so I’ll go sockless and wash them out in the bathroom sink. There is even soap! It’s busy hour in the bathroom so I step aside several times for the ladies to wash their hands while I’m holding my wet semi washed socks.

There is some nice trail around Game Lake and I miss a turn which leads me to a cool board walk on the other side of the lake. I connect back up and enjoy the scenery. The bugs aren’t bad and I’m in better spirits.

Another lunch break is had near Ventor lake and then it’s off to the swamp! It’s a wildlife area and actual quite pleasant. Yes there are more grassy tracks but very few mosquitos. I’ve changed out of my protective long pants into shorts. They are more comfortable and it’s just as easy or hard to pick up ticks from. The long pants are still the best option for heavy mosquito areas (as I find out in the evening).

I forget to get water at the nicer lakes and am keeping my fingers crossed the swampy ponds will have somewhat clear water for me to filter. I’m in luck. One pond has a nice bench, not too many bugs and okay access to the water. I push the green plant cover aside and have reasonably clear water.

I push on and pass through the worst of the ticks yet. At one time I have seven crawling on my at once. I pick them and flick them as fast as I can! Yikes!

I’m hoping for a non grassy tent site so keep pushing on across the road to the next segment. It’s a long forest road which I had not expected and is easy walking. But then the mosquitos come back! Nooooo! I’m looking for a tent site but don’t want to slow down so end up hiking further than I thought I would.

Once inside my tent I inspect my body for ticks. I usually have ticks in my socks and was wondering if barefoot would have a different result. Nope. Five ticks on my feet. Better put those socks back on tomorrow! Today was the winner for tick count. Somewhere between thirty and forty, I’d say closer to forty. Rumor has it the rest of the Lumbercamp section has crappy trail so there’s something to look forward to tomorrow.

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