Wow. What a difference. I started today with such a great mindset, knowing I’d be hiking fewer miles and not be out on the trail until 7 or 8. It was also fun to know that Blueberry and Green Tortuga were taking a zero day today, and that they were staying at the same place — the AmericInn in Tofte. In fact, last night I discovered we were right next door to one another!
So while they slept in and resupplied, I headed out to hike 13-ish miles of the trail. Harriet Quarles shuttled me. She turns 74 tomorrow and is quite the colorful character! She is the main shuttle operator for hikers in the northern half of the trail, while another guy handles the southern half.
The trail started out sopping wet, due to heavy rains in the early morning. But I had all of my rain gear on, so it wasn’t too bad. Despite the gray skies all day and sodden vegetation, there were some great vistas — a hallmark of this trail.
One guy came upon me from behind and hiked past without a glance or grunt — weird. I didn’t see anyone else all day.
The best part of the hike came in the late afternoon, when I reached Agnes Lake. It was gorgeous, plus there were plenty of beavers (and beaver dams) on the lake. I got a great video of one beaver swimming around really close to where I was standing; after a bit he made a huge splash with his tail as he went underwater. It was so cool!
Back at the AmericInn, Blueberry, GT, Brian and I went out to dinner. This was my FIRST real dinner since I started the trail, as Ed and I typically made instant mashed potatoes or some such thing in our motel room — we’d always be too tired to go out to eat, plus it was always late by the time we got to the motel and finished showering. And on the trail, of course, you’re eating trail food. I pigged out on a huge hamburger and fries, plus some wine. I also ordered deep-fried cheese curds so the guys could taste them (they’re from the South and Pacific Northwest).
The guys are slowing their hiking pace, too, so it looks like we won’t cross paths again. Boo! But we will always have this experience on the SHT.
MN NCT miles today: 11.8
MN NCT miles to date: 239.7
Total SHT miles to date: 239.7
Total NCT miles to date: 526.1
Total NCT miles to go: 4,073.9