You need special shoes for hiking - and a bit of a special soul as well.
I awoke early the next morning, jumped out of my sleeping bag and dressed quickly. I broke camp as fast as possible, stuffed everything in my backpack, and hit the trail running.
Well, some of that is true.
I DID wake early. I turned on my cell phone to see what time it was, said, “No way!” and went back to sleep. Then I woke up really, really, really late. I wasn’t too concerned about how late it was, just a bit embarrassed. I was thinking five miles a day would be just about right for the time I had planned to be gone, and I had
all day the rest of the day to walk that far.
I did NOT jump out of my sleeping bag. I lay there doing a mental inventory of each moving part of my body to see if it could still move. I inspected my feet. So far, so good.
|Not too bad. Some red spots, some taped spots, but doing okay.|
As to dressing quickly, I needed to do this in my single width tent to avoid a massive bug attack. Picture the helicopters in Apocalypse Now. I was either lying down or sitting up, depending on which half was receiving clothing. Have you ever tried getting dressed while lying down? With a bum shoulder? That is not a situation to which “quickly” could be applied.
I DID break camp as quickly as I could because the bugs were after me again. I DID stuff everything in my pack willy-nilly because the food and cooking gear were a hundred yards away in the bear box. Still wearing the surf shoes, I carried everything up to the bear box spot.
|Great camp spot at mile 6.9.|
It was so late in the morning, I no longer felt like my morning cup of Constant Comment tea, so I had lemonade with my peanut butter sandwich. I put on my hiking boots, packed everything, saddled up, and headed to the trail.
Twenty steps later, my right hip called for attention. I stopped to
meditate medicate. Two blue Aleve should take care of that, I figured, plus keep the feet numbed for a while.
The terrain was flat. I was in a sub-Alpine elevation, not yet above tree line, but where the trees didn’t grow too tall and there was lots of open space. I walked through a small patch of brush into the open. Immediately I recognized a healthy spruce tree all alone in a small open area.
|The napping tree on the right. I paused here to tell the tree how happy I was to see it had grown into a fine specimen. Okay, I really paused here to remember my dog team.|
In April of 1973, a group of us who lived in Girdwood went on a spring ski trip through here. I carried most of the heavy supplies on my dog sled. At this very spot, I’d brought the team to a halt to wait for the skiers to catch up. My lead dog and swing dog walked off the trail and settled on the moss under this tree for a nap in the warm spring sun. I have a photo of that nap somewhere, and the tree then was a small sapling.
I walked on. My bear song changed. I was tired of “Hello, Dolly.” I have never been able to remember the words to songs, so while I was searching the memory banks for a song I could recall, I heard myself singing, “Hickory, dickory, dock. The mouse ran up the clock….”
A robin led the way up the trail for about a hundred yards. It would fly fifty feet ahead, wait for me to approach, then fly another fifty feet and wait.
I met four guys who’d been fishing, and then a short time later three young women approached. We stopped to chat. They had started from Hope and walked nineteen miles the first day. I was impressed.
They were carrying fairly light packs because with three, they could share equipment. They were also a third my age. And I’ll bet they didn’t have bunions, either. Anyway, they were very nice young women and I don’t envy them as much as it sounds.
After I’d been walking about an hour, I came to Falls Creek, and stopped to fill my now empty water bottle. A bicycler passed me, heading in the same direction I was.
|Bridge over Falls Creek.|
The vegetation had changed again to thick cottonwood and spruce and I reached what is called Romig cabin. It’s called that because it replaced what used to be a picturesque log cabin owned by the Romig family of Cooper Landing.
|Romig public use cabin.|
This was the first time I’d seen the new (to me) design of Forest Service cabins and I like it a lot.
|Dining table and kitchen area at Romig cabin.|
|Bunks for four or a friendly six.|
|View of Juneau Lake from the front porch.|
|Canoe for use by those who reserve the Romig cabin.|
I spent about an hour in the cabin, rearranging my pack so it didn’t pull so much on my shoulders. I finished off the cold Chili Mac and ate a Fiber One bar not because I was hungry, but because I didn’t want to carry them any longer.
Then I headed for my next stop, the Juneau Lake cabin. I knew the trail would wind along the lakeshore, and I was looking forward to this section.
The trail along the water is lovely, lined with wildflowers, and scenic overload.
|Don't think I've ever seen a lilac-colored moth before.|
I paused for a while at Juneau Lake cabin, just to look around and take a few photos.
|Juneau Lake public use cabin.|
|The diabolical steps at the Juneau Lake cabin. Lots of hard work went into building these.|
I have many fond memories of staying in this cabin, both in summer and winter, though the cabin then was the old style, not this spacious, lovely style. It’s also on a much higher hill than the old cabin had been, which I thought somewhat diabolical when I climbed the steps up to it.
On my way again, I came across the bicycler I’d see at Falls Creek. He was engaged in fishing, rod in one hand and a huge Fosters beer can in the other. He was a man at peace with his world. We talked for a while and then I continued on my way.
I had about two and a half miles to my intended destination for this day.
I knew what was coming next. At the end of the lake, the trail make a sweeping right turn in a narrow neck between two mountains and crosses a small creek in an abrupt left turn.
Almost forty years ago, at that creek and on the bridge that spans it, I had two experiences. One could have been life-threatening; the other was life-affirming.
|From the Trout Lake area I headed north. My intended destination to camp this day was just under the words Resurrection Trail on the upper left of the map, just before those squiggly lines that look like a seismograph's earthquake reading.|