A ruffed grouse walked down the trail ahead of us. They usually fly. He was giving us a nice display of the ruff. The best picture I got was after he stepped off the trail.
We were still smiling at our first rest stop.
The challenges of the day foreshadowed the whole trail. It had rained the day and night before. Low trail maintenance on the Kek (not enough volunteers and difficulty of access) means that at this time of year there are armpit high ferns, alder saplings, and berry bushes along the trail. These all hold gallons of water on their leaves. So we were soaked to the skin until mid-afternoon. Then it rained again, so we got soaked all over again!
Right after the smiling picture above, we all gave up and put on the head nets. The mosquitoes were brutal.
It's been a wet year, too, so getting across/past beaver dams was a sloppy challenge. There is now enough use that a treadway has been established, but you can't see it under the brush. You can sense where it is, but you can't see the rocks and holes. Think difficult walking.
We stopped for lunch at the campsite at Moiyaka Lake. I'd not previously walked in to that lake (very short side trail). It was a really beautiful spot. This picture doesn't do it justice, but you can see there is a small island, and there are rocks along the shore too.
After the second beaver pond/dam mess and a couple of falls, I declared Monika and Keira seasoned backpackers.
Our goal was the Thomas River and the Thomas Pond campsite just beyond. We did reach it late in the day.
I'd been assured there is a split log bridge. Well, there is. One log! We all made it safely across, but it was interesting crossing right over the waterfall. You had to not look at the water or it messed with your balance. I am completely mystified as to where I crossed this river on the previous Kek trip. We waded a wide and deep place that didn't look like anything that was visible from this location.
The campsite was just beyond here, and we were sure glad to have arrived although we were dismayed that we had never made more than 1.5 mile in an hour. There is ofen a lovely display of alpenglow in the Boundary Waters, and the sky delivered one this evening.
Miles today: 13.0. Total miles so far: 2954.1.
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