When I awoke the interior of my tent was damp from condensation. It got chilly in the night…I would guess down into the low 50s. I had everything on except my puffy jacket and socks…because they were soaking wet. My feet were freezing. I did take Penny’s suggestion about wearing my silk long underwear to bed. I wished I’d thought of that earlier although other nights had been warm. At least I didn’t stick to the fabric of my sleeping bag.
I had a worrisome dream that I awakened in a hospital room for an unknown reason. I’d been on a trail ride with my good friend Terry and my horse Little Rock…both now deceased. I was trying to check myself out of the hospital because we only had one more night on the trail and I desperately wanted to complete the journey. Then I started wondering – where I would find them? What would Terry have done with my horse? How in the world would I ever be able to finish? I got so distraught that I woke myself up. I vowed to myself that if I got hurt or injured on this day, I’d wait it out until I felt well enough to continue. No hospital for me!
We left camp around 9:20 AM. It was another great day for a hike! We started out with our puffy jackets on but they were off before we reached the Grand Portal viewpoint. We met interesting people along the trail and sometimes couldn’t help but tell our stories…1st time hikers, senior citizens, woo hoo, yay us! Several times we were referred to as a couple of Bad Asses which we of course, took to be a compliment.
We met older day-hikers Gail and Lynn from Marquette. Lynn played accordion in a Cajun band. We started comparing notes and knew lots of the same people, both friends of Penny’s and mine. On some random ledge we met an awesome, exuberant, young woman of 52 years who was hiking alone. She explained that she wanted to do the whole hike but couldn’t find anyone to go with her. We encouraged her to, “Go alone!”
The trail along the lake had lots of little turn offs worth exploring. One of my favorite shows up as Grand Portal Point on my GPS. I liked standing on the little table rock and as you can see from the picture of Penny, it was a lot higher up than it looked. Oh so cool!
Pictures clockwise from bottom left: Lover’s Leap, tour boat to Lover’s Leap, trail close to the edge, rock formation sometimes referred to as Indian Head, Lover’s Leap from other side.
We knew we’d not have a water source at Potato Patch campground, so we filled our 1-liter Smart bottles up to the brim from the Mosquito River. This added about 2# to our packs but sure felt like a lot more! One young woman passed by on the bridge and seemed to be in awe that our water was as pure looking as her apparently store-bought bottle of H2O.
Minutes later, two middle-aged couples came down the trail to the bridge. They were interested as well in what we were doing. The two women were adorable twin sisters, and they were accompanied by big, strapping men carrying…by their admission, huge, 45+ pound packs. We chatted for a while before I noticed that both men had large guns tucked noticeably into the front of their pants. I don’t recall if my initial question was “Are you packing heat?” or, “Why are you packing heat…are you afraid of bears?” The response was that they were NOT afraid of bears but of people that they might meet on the trail. “You’re afraid of hikers?” I asked incredulously. Penny and I…having already established that we were “women of a certain” age, hiking alone with 22+ pound packs…pointed out how fearful we were by advising that we weren’t even packing bear spray…which they also had. Penny dramatically fumbled in her pack to retrieve her small bottle of Mace and pointed it in their general direction…clearly demonstrating that at that moment, we would have already been toast if someone were out to get us. I’m sure we giggled. One of the guys mumbled that we were making him feel like a pansy…They moved on quickly.
There were lots of great photo ops along the way to our final campsite, Potato Patch. There were also mosquitos. Aside from the biting sand flies, we had avoided black flies and swarms of mosquitos during our hike. This was the only day when I dropped the netting from my dorky hat to keep them at bay. There were three sites at Potato Patch and according to the map on the bear box, ours was the first along the path. Confusingly though…the posts were switched for 1 and 3. We decided to go with the posts rather than the map, and had a much better site. After we set up our tents and got ourselves organized, we laid back on my poncho and just enjoyed looking at the canopy above us.
By the way, apparently bears love to eat thimbleberries. The thunder box was through a large patch of thimbleberries and our campsite was on another side of the same patch. The berries were nearly spent by the time of our visit. Another unique thing about this camp was that someone had left a notebook and pen in the bear box. Folks had been making entries since early in 2021. It was entertaining to read the various entries by people from all over the place. I especially related to those thirsting for a cold beer or a nice burger! Though my vegan diet had been quite conducive for natural gas production, I was plenty thirsty! There was also a gift of two small fire starters.
At Potato Patch and at Coves, we saw ginormous rabbits…snowshoe hares. I was reminded of the 1972 horror flick, “Night of the Lepus”. Creepy, well at least in the shadows…with vivid imaginations!
I had taken a picture of the three women from Chapel Beach camp earlier in the day as they stood on a large outcropping of rock along the Lake Superior cliffs. We stopped by their campsite and I offered to share it with them. We had a good conversation and established that their names were Angie, Brandi, and Erica. These gals had made the whole trek as well and would also finish up the next day. They were from Southern Indiana and had formed their hiking group via social media.
We had a dinner of Louisiana Red Beans and Rice. Penny utilized one of the fire starters for a small fire. We set off to watch our last sunset on the trail through the trees above Miners Beach before heading to bed.