Monday, August 11, 2008

Day 4 - Hatchet Lake to Chicken Bone Lake

The Hatchet Lake campsite was a good ways away from the main trail, and I regard these little side trail to camp to be a waste. You are just going to have to reverse hike it the next morning. In this case, it was a long hard steep downhill, and I spent the night dreading the climb back out. It was going to spend a lot of energy right away and make the rest of the day hard. I was nauseous all day, for the second day in a row, and had no real idea what was wrong. I was drinking enough and had no other symptoms. The kids suggested banana chips for the potassium, and they actually helped, as we waited for dinner, I picked the salt particles out of the seasoning mix because I was craving it. My hiking partner had proposed that we leave early, before the boys were even up in order to get a head start, and that had worked well the previous day, so we got up and struggled up the difficult and slow climb out, and proceeded along our way back on Greenstone Ridge Trail. After a period of hiking the usual ups and downs, the rocky ridges and the boardwalked valleys, he took a GPS reading to see how far we had come and announced that we were moving too slowly. He said we had not come far enough since we left camp at 6 am and we needed to move faster. Well, I had just been contemplating asking for a long break to sit down, have a snack, take my shoes off, change to dry socks, adjust the pack, maybe even have a short nap. And now he is all hot that we are never ever going to make it to the next camp by nightfall and we are going to die out here and be eaten by wolves while still alive and never see our wonderful sons again. I ventured that we had really left later than that and were okay after all, but he insisted. Needless to say, things were tense for a while. Eventually, the rest of the group caught up to us, and we all sat down for lunch together. I quietly inquired of the other leader if he knew what time we had left camp, and he said a little after 7 am. Hah! And needless to say, my hiking partner recognised immediately that he had made things worse for me by pushing me. The mood on the trail got better after that. I got my breaks and there were plenty of sunny ridges to enjoy them on with breathtaking views and abundant wildflowers. We were near the highest point of the island, so there were more patches of evergreen forest on the higher slopes, with their dark needles contrasting with the brighter green of the ferns that carpetted the ground along the trail. Camp at Chicken Bone Lake had less of a canopy of trees, so fewer ferns, but the sunlight offered more brilliant wildflowers. Another day of wonder and awe.

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