My mornings were now fairly routine as well, wake up around 6, out of the tent by 6:30, breakfast, pack up, and hit the trail by about 8:30. Was able to add some fresh thimbleberries to my oatmeal since my campsite was completely surrounded by them! This morning I added water filtering to my routine to make sure that I left camp fully topped off. The nice steps down to the water made that easy.
The hike out of Hatchet Lake starts with a level 0.2 mile section from the campground over to the spur trail up to the Greenstone. I saw a little garter snake along the trail here. The spur back up to the Greenstone is only about 0.3 miles but it seems to be mostly straight up, so that was a nice way to start the day;-)
Early in the morning while pushing through a lush overgrown section of the trail, I could hear some sort of activity in the thimbleberry patch on my left. I suspected a squirrel, but hadn’t spotted it. Then all of a sudden about 10 feet in front of me a squirrel popped out of the foliage onto the trail and headed straight at me, a second one appeared in hot pursuit. The first squirrel spotted me after covering about half the distance and jumped back into the bush, however the second’s reactions weren’t as quick and he kept coming my direction. It finally realized what he was up against and came skidding to a halt seemingly right between my boots – like something you’d see in a cartoon, before jumping back into the bush. I had a good laugh and then continued on my way.
Found a nice shaded clearing off the trail a little after 11 and decided to have a break and early lunch. Finally go back on the trail around noon. This was one of my near 8 mile days and I have been taking it fairly slow as there’s really no rush. By 3 in the afternoon (Central Time) I hadn’t seen another soul on the trail. I had stopped momentarily to have a sip of water and from behind me I heard “How’s it goin?” – scared the crap out of me! The guy was also on his way to W. Chickenbone but had left Lake Desor this morning about the same time I had left Hatchet Lake. He’d covered about 14 miles in the time I’d done 7 – man I’m slow…
I arrived at W. Chickenbone about 3:45, procured a campsite and proceeded with my evening routine. Was a good thing I had decided to top off my water this morning as I was nearly dry when I got here. This is my least favorite campsite so far – it didn’t have anything setup as far as logsrocks for “dining” area or anything and little tree cover so the sun was beating down for a couple hours. Oh well. It also was surrounded by thimbleberry pushes that were populated by a number of squirrels and birds that were making noise all evening long. One of which also decided to relieve themselves on my shirt and pants that I had laid on a rock to dry. I get it, you were here first, but really that’s just rude.
Some of the flora and fauna that I observed today: