Today was another beautiful sunny, cool day. I love the fall! Began the day hiking the last part of McKenzie Creek, which was just as lovely as the prior sections. From there I moved into Pine Lake and then Straight River; I think it was in the latter where I had one misstep when I picked my way across a swampy area only to find no blazes or trail. I backtracked over it and finally saw that a directional arrow had fallen off a tree and was lying arrow-side down in the mud. I set it right-side up at the base of the tree, then veered off to the right. That path pops you out into a big meadow with a deer stand; you cross the meadow, climb over a gate (I couldn’t open it) and continue on.

I love the Straight Lake segment, accessed through a weighted gate. This is another enjoyable hike with lots of views of the water while being tucked in the shaded, pretty woods. 

Trade River surprised me. I do remember passing the “big basalt rock” indicated on the IATA map back in 2013, but I totally forgot all of the other cool rock formations inside this segment. The ski hill area of Trade River, which lies down a short connecting route, was well-trimmed and easily navigable.

I’ve been fighting tendinitis in my left leg ever since the day I had to hike in the rain in my hiking boots all day, when my older sister crewing me lost me until 8 p.m. Today it felt better, so I did a bunch of jogging when I hit the Gandy Dancer trail and made it all the way down to Centuria, where Dean was waiting to drive me back to my car. Can’t believe tomorrow’s the end!

©2018 Melanie McManus – All Rights Reserved

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