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Friday, August 5, 2022

Kekekabic - Agamok Bridge to Howard Lake - Day 248

  In the morning, when we weren't so tired, we climbed around on the rocks at Agamok and wished we could just spend a day here. It really is a special place.
Agamok River

Lots of photo ops!
hikers

We passed through the area burned by the Cavity Lake Fire in 2006. Very little evidence of that remains except that there aren't a lot of large trees. We were SO happy that there wasn't dew or rain in the night. We were still pushing our way through tall weeds and saplings, but at least we were dry. Having everything wet is such a drag on your legs. Kekekabic vista

However, this was the day we paid the price for pushing so hard the first two days. It got hot. Monica literally felt ill. My legs were like rubber for the first time in these entire 8 months. Keira had blisters. We were a sorry mess.

We made it to Lake Gabimichigami and more or less collapsed. This was only 2.4 miles, and it took us two hours of walking. We took a long rest, but there was no way we were going to hike another 11 miles. We talked about options, and decided to walk to Howard Lake, the next campsite, which was 1.2 miles away and see how we felt.
Lake Gabimichigami

Up another hill, and there was a great view back at Gabimichigami, which is a huge lake. It's actually the second deepest inland lake in Minnesota at 209 feet. Our Volunteer Vacation group canoed in to here and camped on this lake in 2003.
Lake Gabimichigami
At Howard Lake, we rested again. We had a couple of choices. The next campsite was still 4 miles ahead of us at Bingshick Lake. We could go about 2 miles and try to find a place to shoehorn the two tents into the woods somewhere. But we hadn't seen any places yet that looked like this was a realistic possibility.

If we went to Bingshick, we might be able to walk to Gunflint Lodge the next day. If we stayed at Howard Lake, we had 8 miles to walk out to the Gunflint Trail (a road) the next day. I knew we could get the Gunflint Outfitters to come there and pick us up, and we could get one of their bunkhouses for the night. We all had plenty of food for this option.

None of us thought we could walk four more miles. How crazy is that? So we camped at Howard Lake. At that point, Monica and Keira already realized they'd be ending their portion of the hike at Gunflint. There was not going to be time to readjust the miles to something more reasonable and finish in time for her to get home for work. We could have purchased the additional food we needed at Gunflint, so that wasn't an issue, but we couldn't manufacture extra time.

At about 3:30 pm, Keira pointed to a big black cloud and said, "Does that mean it's going to rain?" Answer- yes. We had thunderstorms all evening. We hunkered down in our tents and rested.
campsite

I felt bad that I had planned so poorly that I'd worn out my friends on their first longer backpacking trip. And I couldn't figure out why I was so rubbery and tired. Sure the Kek has hills, but nothing in elevation like the east- a couple hundred feet at most.

The rocky terrain was the hardest thing. Literally hard! Since we couldn't see our feet, every step was different, and had to be taken by feel. The lead person called out hazards- rock, hole, tripper, step-over, eye-poker, head banger, etc, but it got to be a total joke, because there was something to deal with every other step.

I don't know if it's an excuse, but it has always seemed to me that my small feet are a real disadvantage. They slide under the edges of rocks. They fit in holes of nearly every size (throwing me to the ground). They don't span gaps. They are bony with very little padding. (Marie's are the same except bigger, and this is why we've always taken rest days because our feet get sore and bruised). At any rate, my feet started really hurting on this day. Nothing I haven't experienced before, but usually only after too many days in a row of hiking. At any rate, for whatever reasons, including walking soaking wet for two days, the bottoms of my feet were very tender.

We all went to sleep knowing that the hike was going to end when we finished the Kek. We were discouraged, but I managed a really good hang for the food bags. There's that, but I forgot to take a picture.

Miles today: 4. Total miles so far: 2971.4

See Thomas Pond to Agamok

1 comment:

Ann said...

That sounds like a really rough day.

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