We were grumpy older ladies in the morning as we groused about the naughty rule-breakers. I made lots of quiet threats to report them to Park Rangers or the reservation system before coming to grips with a hunch that “nobody cares”. We worked hard to bend our conversation to a more positive light, but we had to get it out first. An hour and a half into our hike we came upon the 1940s Plymouth abandoned in the woods along the trail. That had to be the most photographed vehicle in the entirety of the Lakeshore Trail. There were plenty of initials etched into what remained of the body and it is a trail landmark.
A short time later met an upbeat bunch of gender-segregated young folks on the trail along with their chaperones. Girls in front. Boys in the back. They stepped aside for us to pass. As we approached the boys, they began fist bumping us! Their enthusiasm was sweet and brought smiles to our faces…though, I’m thinking we must have looked really old to them. In fact, aside from the guy whose son carried his backpack to give him a break, we’d not met anyone through-hiking who appeared to be our age.
The trail was through the woods for the first couple miles and then snaked along the beach from above. It was impressive just how close to the edge we hiked. We had to remind ourselves that our packs stuck out from behind us like sideways whack-a-mole hammers. One could easily knock her hiking partner over the edge just by turning around too quickly!
Six miles in, we hiked through Beaver Creek campground. That had to be one of the most beautiful camps. There were towering trees and little undergrowth. The location next to Beaver Creek and Lake Superior was ideal. We hiked down to the mouth of Beaver Creek where we refilled our water supply. I for one, made a conscious effort to drink more water since I had been somewhat disoriented the afternoon before. There was a large logjam close to the mouth of the creek that evidenced years of accumulation. Farther upstream, we crossed the water via a rustic, questionably sturdy…though clearly “good enough”, log bridge. I suspect that bridge will be replaced in the not-too-distant future and I’m thankful we got to experience it as it was.
We got to our camp at Coves by 1:30 PM. It was a beautiful site with towering hemlocks and well-spaced sites. The sounds of the waves hitting the shore below was audible and soothing. We had no trouble finding decent spots for both of our tents. Locating the thunder box was a little bit of a challenge; however, another camper had gifted what remained of a pack of Wet Wipes and extra toilet paper. Both were contained in a torn-open Ziplock bag.
We walked down to explore the beach with ponchos handy. We could hear a good deal of thunder and even saw lightening to the east. We seemed to be staying one step ahead of the storms though there had clearly been recent rain at our campsite. There was a light mist by the lake that never evolved into rain, but everything was very humid. Since we had plenty of time, we decided to take a short hike to Little Beaver Lake…a mile and a half round trip. My door-jammed knee was in significant pain, but I was able to keep moving. When we got to the lake, we found it unremarkable and headed back to camp.
For our dining enjoyment, Penny cooked up some less-than-delicious Chana Masala from Backpacker’s Pantry. We’d been sharing vegan meals since each pack fed two people. The Pad Thai the night before had been quite tasty! This one…not so much. I kept reminding myself that it was just fuel. Tonight, was my turn to scoop water from Lake Superior. My feet and legs got soaked. It could also be a challenge scrambling back up those sand dunes with two bottles of water in hand. Truthfully, I thought the most difficult parts of the trail were those that took us through heavily sandy areas…two steps forward, one slide back. Once back at camp, Penny spent considerable time attempting to get a blazing fire in the communal fire pit. It looked like a potential beauty; however, we had nothing dry to get it to take.
Random thoughts before sleeping: I was loving this adventure. Every bit. Penny and I shared the same pace while on the trail. I thought 7.3 miles was a good distance for our first day; after that we could likely have trekked farther. If nothing were to break on our bodies, we felt good about our abilities and stamina. Being disconnected from outside worries and responsibilities was incredible. The whole exercise forced us to live in the moment. I consciously worked to see each hike, not as a task to get to the next campsite, but as “what am I supposed to notice today?” This night I took advantage of the Wet Wipes gift. Prior to those, I got most of the dirt off my skin with an occasional Deet wipe! It felt heavenly to go to bed with clean feet and I looked forward to clean socks and underwear in the morning. We managed over 33,000 steps this day and were to bed just before 9:00 PM. I felt regret that we only had two more sleeps left.