If you pick 'em up, O Lord, I'll put 'em down.
~Author Unknown, Prayer of the Tired Walker
The trail in the switchbacks led me higher and higher and higher. I broke out of deep forest into tall grass and brush.
As I gained elevation, I could see far down the valley to Juneau Lake. From that perspective, and knowing that my previous camp was three miles beyond what I could see of the lake, I’d walked a long way today.
|That little light spot in the center is the grassy area at the end of Juneau Lake.|
Now my feet were really ticked at me. They’d been looking forward to stopping at five miles. The next tent site/bear box was at mile 13.6. I kept going. I was out of treated water.
Even though it was early evening, the sun was hot on that hillside. I was watching for a relatively flat spot to pitch a tent. There were none.
I kept trudging uphill through the tall grass and brush. I came to a sign post indicating an alternate route to Swan Lake, so I knew I was at mile 12.9. The tent camp site with a bear box was 7/10th of a mile ahead. I kept walking.
|Swan Lake from my tent site.|
I finally gave in to temptation. I stopped at a trickle of a creek flowing through a small culvert under the trail and filled my water bottle with cold clean water. I probably could have drunk some of the treated water in my pack, but it would have been warm by now. I needed cold water and to heck with giardia.
|Juneau Lake. I had walked almost three miles to that end of Juneau Lake, then along the base of the mountain on the right, across the valley, and up this steep hillside.|
Just when I was ready to pitch my tent in the tall grass, I spotted the post for 13.6. Instead of having an easy day, I’d just walked an equal distance as the day before, plus climbed the steep switchbacks.
Now to pitch that tent. But first, drop the pack and get the hiking boots off. Once that was done, I was in better shape physically and took some time to look at the view.
I was in a small mountain hemlock grove and there were very few bugs. I could see all the way to Juneau Lake and in front of me was a view of Swan Lake.
|The bear box.|
Now the tent. I was much more organized about this whole camp thing than I’d been the night before in that swarm of insects. I took the food bag to the bear box and locked it up. I wasn’t at all hungry but I took two peanut butter sandwiches out for dinner.
|Lay out the ground cloth and put the tent on top of it. Put the silver and orange poles together. Notice the two orange poles-to-nowhere.|
|The orange pole fit into grommets at the top of the tent. Everything is color-coded.|
|Viola! A rain fly drapes over the whole thing.|
I didn’t want to cook any Mountain House. Warm food didn’t sound appetizing at all and I was too tired to bother.
Storm clouds were rolling in from the north by the time I’d finished pitching camp. I made sure everything was protected and crawled into the tent.
I ate one peanut butter sandwich by making myself eat it. I hid the other one under my sleeping bag and started laughing as I lay there. Eating and keeping food in the tent was a big bear no-no, but I was wondering what would attract a bear more, fresh red meat with sore feet or a squashed peanut butter sandwich?
I’d walked two miles farther today than I’d intended. That messed up my plan to walk five miles a day which would have perfectly spaced the days if I went out Devil’s Creek trail. My original plan was to camp around 12 mile, then do these switchbacks tomorrow, and camp in Resurrection Pass tomorrow.
Now I was only two miles from where I’d intended to camp tomorrow. I decided to stick to that plan tomorrow. That would give my sore feet a much-needed break.
“Feet,” I said. "Tomorrow you get a day off. I promise.”
Again, sleep was a long way off. The temperature was too warm for sleeping and I fought with the air mattress for a long time. Next trip, I decided, I’d bring a foam mat instead.
|I made it through the squiggly lines at the right of Resurrection Trail printed on the map, and camped for the night where the red line points north toward the "i" in National.|