Friday, August 15, 2008

Day 6 - Daisy Farm to Rock Harbor

This was our last day of backpacking, as we neared the west end of the amazing island. It poured in the night so everything was soaked, including the shoes that had nearly dried from the previous rains. The trail followed along the shore of Lake Superior as the trail gets rockier and rockier, climbing over a slight ridge to the shore of a bay called Tobin harbor to a park like trail along the shore of the bay. After smugly announcing that careful hikers do not fall during a camp discussion of who had fallen and how badly, I slipped stepping down a smooth faced stone slope and twisted an ankle and fell on a knee and shin, causing a huge red welt that promised to hurt more later. I was glad we were on our last day, because an injury like that can flare up in camp and cause delays the next day. We had been warned by the Daisy Farm ranger, John Denver, that the trail got rockier and rocker the closer one got to the harbor, and advised to cut up over the ridge to a flatter trail on the Tobin Bay side of the peninsula. The cut over the ridge initially seemed treacherous, but that turned out to be a false alarm, and the trail on the harbor side was relatively flat and smooth, with a slope down to the harbor water on the left and a slope up on the right. The harbor side alternated between evergreen trees that obstructed the view and opening that revealed it to make us ooh and ahh all over again each time we were treated to another harbor view. At first, the bay was very narrow and the other side was close, then as the bay widened, there was more lake and less background to the views, giving fresh perspective each time. We happened upon a duck family that we watched for a while. We were chipperly chatting along enjoying out last day out with a cheerful optimism when BAM I was face first on the trail with my pack pinning me to the ground and my head in searing pain. My partner behind me was enjoying a laugh at my expense and commenting that it was a good thing I fell on an area of soft moss and ferns. I uttered something unprintable that I was forgiven for later and pointed out that just under a misleadingly thin layer of moss was sharp jagged rough hard rock. He helped me up and helped twist and wiggle my pack back into place and asked where I hit. I pointed to my forehead under my bandana and he asked to see, so I lifted the bandana. He visibly winced back a little and said 'ooh, that's not gonna be pretty in a couple days'. Uh, thanks. We trudged on, and I tried to be grumpy about not one but two injuries, but the trail and its views were just to amazing. I kept thinking of it as a Japanese garden on some botanical park. The trail was that wide and that level and the views were stunning and the vegetation was lush. When we arrived at the harbor, we dumped out packs with great relief. A wonderful day filled with beautiful views and a sense of satisfaction that only hard work can bring.

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