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Last night at Tank Creek, about halfway to M-20, it was so hot out! I think about 86 F. (30 C). I washed up in the creek, then joined in our book club’s discussion by phone. I had just enough service. But while I love my sit pad, which I use for snack breaks and lunch on the trail, it’s not too comfy for sitting more than an hour. Plus, I kept sweating, so I called it quits after an hour and turned in early. Eventually, things cooled down.
I got up this morning by 6:30, then got on the trail before 8 a.m. I wanted to beat the heat, as it was supposed to be nearly as hot today. Trail angels Dale and Kathy were going to pick me up at the M-20 Trailhead at 4 p.m., but I moved it up to 2 p.m. I was hiking quickly, despite my heavy pack, and eager to get to a campground tonight, with a real shower!
Making My Way to M-20
The trail was relatively easy this morning, with few climbs. It wound through some wetlands, lots of pine woods and some interesting prairie/scrub type of land.
After lunch, I somehow was behind schedule, so I really pounded out the last 5-6 miles (8-10 km). It was hard work, given that it was now pretty hot out. I didn’t notice the scenery too much, as I was intent on not being late for my shuttle.
I got to the trailhead a few minutes after 2 p.m., and Dale and Kathy were waiting. During the shuttle back to my car at 76th Street, they mentioned the tan moths I’ve been noticing everywhere. Apparently they’re gypsy moths, and this year they’ve had a terrible outbreak here.
Kathy said just a few weeks ago, all of the trees had no leaves, as the moths (or caterpillars?) ate them all. People were shocked when the trees leafed out again. (I had been noticing the leaves here were a bright, spring green.) People are worried the moths have killed many of the pines, though.
Settling in at White Cloud Campground
Tonight and tomorrow I’ve got a campsite in White Cloud County Park. There are showers here (yay!), but no laundry, so I had to run into town to do a load. The laundromat closed at 6 p.m. and I got there at 5, so I had just enough time to wash my clothes and partially dry them. Luckily it’s warm and windy tonight, so I think the damp ones will still dry.
While waiting for my clothes, I arranged a few more shuttles, working off of Facebook groups and word-of-mouth. My goodness, there are so many awesome people out there willing to help hikers out. It warms the heart and soul.
NCT Miles Today: 16.3 (26.2 km)
MI NCT miles to date: 861.3 (1,386.1 km)
Total NCT miles to date: 1,610.3 (2,591.5 km)
Total NCT miles to go: 2,989.7 (4,811.5 km)