Sunday, July 24, 2011

Pete Lake

Pete Lake
We are rather notorious for getting late starts. We don't ever really rush, take things at our own slow pace and do things when we feel like it. So it's not surprising at all that we got a late start on our adventures today. We were originally going to head up to Rachel Lake but the trail book we have said that it is always exceptionally crowded on weekends. Crowds + hiking is a no go for us, so we headed up to Pete Lake instead.

It's a bit of a drive for us. Once off the highway we started our adventure by not being able to find the turn off. We went back and forth down the road about 3 times before we found the proper road. By the time we got parked and settled, it was around 3:30pm (see, I told you we got a late start).  Exceptionally late for a 9 mile hike, but I regress.. 

We lathered up with sunblock and headed in. I decided to wear my Luna Sandals on this hike and I'm glad I did. There were quite a few cars at the trail head which was a little worrisome, but we'd find later that most were camping in. We only encountered a few people along our way, including  a group of 5 on horseback. There was a fairly large handful (somewhere between 7-10) of water crossings. Some were about half way up my calf in depth. As I watched other hikers precariously balancing on logs and stones to cross, I just splashed right in. I was wearing sandals after all, and knew they'd dry right out.

The horses had left muddy sections of the trail a little worse for wear. We also ran into a few areas where we had to climb over huge trees that had blown down. The mosquitoes were out in force and would only get worse as time went by. Parts of the trail is covered with large rocks. When we finally made it up to the lake, we thought we'd sit down and enjoy some sandwiches we had brought, but soon discovered by doing so the mosquitoes thought they'd have a snack of us.

We didn't hang around too long since we wanted to make sure we got out before sundown. This area has a population of bobcats, cougars and coyotes. I'd much rather never encounter any of these out of a controlled environment. When I lived in Arizona, I once had a too close for comfort run in with a rattlesnake while hiking. I'd like to keep that my only too close for comfort wildlife encounter.

As we headed back the mosquitoes got down right nasty. Close to the aggression of the Montana mosquitoes (they will bite you during the day, while you're moving, even if you're moving at 20mph on a bike), but with the population of the Minnesota or Wisconsin mosquitoes.

We ran parts of the trail trying to keep the mosquitoes at bay and also trying to get out of the forest before we became a giant bug bite. I think I only got about 3,000 bug bites. I've decided that trail running really feels more natural than road running. Perhaps I just think about it less, but when I run on a dirt trail I run and hop, sometimes I increase my stride to make it over an obstacle, sometimes I reduce it to make it up an incline. There's no thinking about it, it just happens. I'm not concentrating on running, I'm concentrating on not tripping over that root, or landing in middle of the mud. 

Nine miles was likely farther than I should have went in my Lunas. By the time we made it back to the car, my feet were a bit tender. I did a quick inspection (the best I could, they were pretty damn filthy) and decided that they were fine. I found one area that looked like it had blistered and popped under one of my small toes. I'm guessing that it was from the wet dirt trapped between my foot and the sandal. I scrubbed them off when I got home, and as I sit here and type this they feel fine. The wool laces did great, didn't bother me the entire hike. Even wet I had no problems with them. 

PS - I ended up with a lot of nice photos from this hike. You can click the picture below to view them

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