Today dawned sunny and beautiful. Trail angel and consummate IATA volunteer Joe Jopek drove me to the start of Highland Lakes East and dropped some water for me. 

Two years ago, I never got to see much of Highland Lakes East, which was closed due to flooding. Today I got to see it all, including the beautiful Camp Susan. 

Highland Lakes West, which gets quite hilly and rocky near the end, was made fun by a wealth of cairns.

In 2013, I didn’t hike much of Parrish Hills at all. I’d been diagnosed with cellulitis on the bottom of one foot the prior day, and per my doctor’s recommendation did a road walk instead of fording the creek near the western end. Joe recommended a detour around another section that wasn’t well marked. Today I got to do it all, and it was glorious (and superbly marked). It was a wonderful mixture of everything: forest, prairie, logging roads, lakes, streams and, yes, a creek crossing. I actually enjoy those, as the cold water always makes my feet and legs feel better. And today I felt some tendinitis coming on in my left foot/shin.

Joe and his wife, Pat, picked me up at the end of Parrish Hills and deposited me at my motel in Merrill. What will tomorrow bring?!

©2018 Melanie McManus – All Rights Reserved

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