03 May 24, FR – 15 mi of hiking from 6AM till 5:30PM

Summary: hike from East Branch shelter towards Jo Mary Rd. and camp at a beautiful and wintry Antlers Camp

05:07 – very early raise. It was the coldest night, probably as low as 7°C. During the night I put on everything I had including the rain jacket.   Right now, the sun is already up, birds are chirping, and it only emphasizes the quietness around the camp.

06:10 – all set and ready to go. Start the hike. 15.2 hiking miles planned for today.

06:25 – 06:31 – I had to cross the East Branch Pleasant River holding the ropes and rolling up my pans (not high enough though). The Keen sandals will stay wet for the next 20 minutes.

07:27 – I warmed up from marching. Windbreaker is coming off. The first full day of hiking is full of adjustments – both physical and mental.  The path ahead seems endless and pointless.  Can I turn back before its too late?

08:19 – something hits me in the head, and I am flying back landing on my elbow.  The first thing I see is my watch.  What was that? It was a tree hanging across the trail in my blind spot extended by the cap.

09:09 – 09:48 I am at the top of Little Broadman Mountain – 2017′.  That would be the highest point of my entire trip this time. With super weak cell signal (one to two bars) I am running around the summit trying to finish daily Duolingo, notify Lira that everything is OK.  And a cloud of bugs helping me not to stand still. The weather forecast still predicts no rain till Tuesday. Good.

10:26 I am hit in the head again.  This time I am going straight down and lading on my left elbow. This time the tree was a bit higher, and the sum of forces knocked me not back, but down. Ok. I need to start paying more attention to my surroundings.

10:41 – I am Johnston Pond Rd.  My two fellow hikes from the shelter started here yesterday. I took me 4.5H to complete 5 mi of the trail.

10:54 – 11:24 I am taking a break on a sandy beach of Crawford Pond.  Everything to come out. Swimming is pleasant, but getting in and out of the water is icky. You can see fallen trees and branches and boulders.  The water temperature is refreshing but not freezing.  Very nice water in May. Strange.

12:35 – 13:41 – I am at Copper Brook Fall shelter. That is about a half point mark for today’s hike.  I did 8 mi in 6H. Here my appetite finally kicks in.  I finish the porridge from home and keep eating and refilling mix of Grape Nuts, dried fruits, and nuts with tap water still from home. With me sitting still, it is suddenly cold (61°F) and rains starts.  Once again, I will trust the forecast and just sit this one out.

I can’t be happier than I am right now, but I do not know it.  Happiness is like a big city; you do not know when you are in it or when you are out.  Everything is happening right now; everything is on the move – even the rain.  And still, one needs to make decisions for the next minute, hour, days ahead. You are not so much in control as you are in the flow of the situation.

13:45 – I am starting the second portion of the hike. The sign shows 7.9 mi till my destination for today.  It is a mile crunching time of the day.

14:50 – 15:03 I am stopping by the brook to collect and filter water.  I prepared the filter in the outside pocket, so the water stop seems efficient and well timed.  The reason to have extra water closer to the end of the hiking day is the ability to stop anywhere without needing to search for a water source.

15:29 – I’ve reached Jo Mary Rd. I was parked here in May 2021. I do not make a stop here.  I just keep going.

You hike along the already familiar Coopper Brook that you followed at least since the shelter.  The path imperceptibly goes down, but it fills like a flat section of the trail.

16:18 – the Cupper Brook abruptly widens into a much wider body of water preparing to merge with a Mud Brook that we will have to cross shortly. But no. It is still a Cooper Brook.

16:32 – crossing one more road with a bridge to the other side of the water barrier.  This road is an offshoot of the main Jo Mary Rd., and it goes along the far along Middle Jo Mary Lake.

16:49 – 16:56 I was almost ready to finish the hike, but suddenly I needed to cross one more river, and that would make my feet wet. I earnestly try to find an alternative crossing, I even try to cross on a fallen tree, but no, I wouldn’t be able to cross here with a heavy backpack.  I am grabbing the ropes and start crossing ankle-deep in the water. Upon crossing, I am so excited with the result that I place my phone in a hurry on a boulder and hear the scratch. My screen protector is scratched, and cracks spread radially in many directions.

17:35 After 11H of hiking I am finally at the planned destination point – Antlers Camp. This looks like a great place to spend a night. There is even a table here. Table is facing the shoreline.

18:14 The hammock is set a little away from the table.  I found the wind more moderate closer to the trees.

19:00 I am trying to cook on a strong wind from the open space near the lake. This place is really great, but it is very windy. No one is here. For the whole day I’ve met only 3 people, 5 people in 2 days.

The day timing is working out.

19:26 I am using heavy stones to hold pots, cups and clothes.  There is a cell signal here! As soon as the wind calmed down, the bugs reluctantly reappeared as if in disbelief.  The water for cooking I gathered right from the lake.

21:04 That is it. I am inside the hammock. I reviewed the maps and photos for the day. The total hike was 16.25 mi.  The remaining hike is 28 mi. The wind by the water calmed down and now it is walking around somewhere in the forest behind.  Tomorrow I will stay near Nahmakanta Lake – also a very windy place.  Right now, I am very comfortable in my cocoon. All my things are back in the backpack, and it hangs outside. The food is a separate bag and hangs very high above the ground.  I was a good idea to filter water 5 mi before the end. Lake water is clear, but it is hard to separate the debris.  It is OK to cook with, but drinking is better from running water source.

I am alone here. Everything is very quiet. Happiness is very ephemeral and unnoticeable. Everything is going perfectly. Timing is working out great. Everything is going right. Every little detail was thought about.  And all the worries are overcompensated for by satisfaction from the flow.  It is a very complicated satisfaction from a perfectly executed plan.

21:15 Thank to cell signal I can complete the day with double points from Duolingo.  To do that, I must get out into the dark, but I will do it anyway.

(Visited 8 times, 1 visits today)

Navigate through the List

  1. 01 May 2024 preparations for the trip (2024/05/22)
  2. 02 May 23, TH - substitute Frenchtown Rd. hiking with driving - smart (2024/05/23)
  3. 03 May 24, FR - 15 mi of hiking from 6AM till 5:30PM (2024/05/24)
  4. 04 May 25 SA - it is a lakes and streams country (2024/05/25)
  5. 05 May 26 SU - Does the path to Golden Rd. exists? (2024/05/26)
  6. 06 May 27 MO - the magic and anxiety of the last miles to the car (2024/05/27)
  7. 07 May 2024 - Final thoughts (2024/05/28)

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