I ate lunch at the Greenwater Lake Trailhead, feeling bummed that there were no views of this nice lake except glimpses through the trees. It is home to a rare diatom, Synedra filiformis. Of course, I wouldn't have been able to see the diatoms without a microscope, but it's still cool.
But I was about to be even more bummed. The next two miles had not yet been cleared from one of the big wind events they have had. Here is one example of what the trail was like. It was pretty much impassable, except I did get through. But not easily.
Here is another. And on this boardwalk, I pulled out my phone to see how far I'd come. I contemplated turning around and going back to the Greenwater Lake Trailhead to hike around. But I discovered that I'd already made it 2 miles, and there were only 2.5 to go to reach my car. I knew what it was like if I went back. I thought there was a chance it might get better if I forged ahead.
The trail did get better! But I was getting tired, and I started playing games with myself to stay motivated. It's way too easy for me to check Avenza frequently to see my location. I lectured myself- I thought I had about 2 miles to go, so I pulled out a cough drop. They are good when my throat gets dry, and each one lasts between one and two miles. I told myself I could not check Avenza until that cough drop was completely gone.
I hiked hard and thought I had about a half mile left when the last sliver of cough drop dissolved. I stopped and rummaged in my belt pack for the phone. I usually keep it in a pants pocket with a flap, but I was wearing pants today with useless pockets, so it was in my belt pack. Except it wasn't. I took off my backpack and the beltpack. I took everything out of the belt pack. No phone. I checked all my pockets, but I knew it wasn't there.
The last time I was certain I'd had it was on that blocked boardwalk. When I got out the cough drop, I had to dig deep, but I didn't remember either that the phone was there or if it wasn't.
Super bummer. So I started to walk back, leaving my pack- why lug that extra weight? I started another cough drop to be my timer. When it was gone, I'd know I was in the most likely area to find the phone. I walked to the end of the cough drop and a little farther. No phone. So now I was pretty sure it would have to be in that mess by the boardwalk. I was contemplating what I might need to do. The phone was turned off. Could Verizon get a location on it even so? Could I get a friend with a phone to hike out with me in the morning and find it, if we could get a location? I was expecting a phone call at 4 pm. I was going to be lucky to find the phone by 4, if I could find it.
Well, I'd now walked most of the way back to the boardwalk. Might as well keep going, right? Remember that I was tired before I started hiking backwards.
I did a lot of self-chastisement for being so stupid. I did some praying along the lines of, "It sure would be nice if You would see fit for me to find my phone because it's going to be a big hassle if it's really lost."
At almost 2 miles back, there was my phone, spread-eagled in its case in the middle of the trail. Yippie and Thank You Lord! As implausible as it is, I must not have pulled the beltpack zipper all the way shut, and the phone slipped out at this location, somewhat after the boardwalk.
Now I started hiking toward the car again. I felt of the pocket where the maps and my glasses were. Not there! What the heck? Had I left them with my pack? I sure didn't think so, but tired people do stupid things.
A little farther on, I found this sign marking the Laurentian Divide. It was also a victim of a fallen tree.
The maps and glasses were in the side pocket on the pants. It's a terrible pocket- just a narrow slit like the side pocket on painter pants. You can bet I won't use it again. (Why was I wearing these pants, you ask?- They are very lightweight and I had them in my pack in case the mosquitoes were bad enough that I wanted long pants. I did. I had changed to the long pants and long sleeves early in the day. The glasses usually sit on top of my head, but I had my head covered to keep the deer flies off, so they were in that pocket too.)
Part way back, where I had needed to do a Rockette kick to get over a log, there were the map and glasses.
I hoofed it back to my pack, now once again having possession of all my gear, and hiked to the car. I responded to the missed phone call, and that is taken care of.
That was a lot of extra miles on a very buggy and difficult day.
Michelle has been spotting me lately, and today she also brought me a chicken dinner with potatoes, grilled zucchini, melon from her garden and a chocolate bar. It was waiting in the fridge at the house where I am staying. What a lifesaver, that I did not have to cook after I got home. Oh yeah, I also had to take a poison ivy shower and clean my shoes and socks and the bottoms of my pants. Well, I think I'll wear pants with the correct pockets tomorrow.
Michelle for the big score today! Now, I'm just going to do a couple of things and go to bed. I'm beat.
Miles today that count: 15.9. Actual miles today: 19.5. Total miles so far: 3074.1.
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