I’ll start off by saying that James and I had tons of fun together. I think that we’ve realized that we are very good travel partners, and not just to cushy hotel rooms and delicious restaurants but to difficult places like Haiti and bear infested forests. It was a hard couple of days but we kept each other laughing and moving. I especially appreciated James keeping an eye on me. He would make sure I climbed up/down rock faces safely, he made me a hot cup of coffee and sent me to snuggle in my sleeping bag when my limbs were practically convulsing due to being wet and cold, he would lift my pack off of my back when I needed to stoop down and tie my boot for the umpteenth time (note to self: get new laces!)…what a guy. He also said that he would fight any bears that came along, what more could you ask for in a husband?
Anyways, I don’t know what we were thinking going onto the trail after three solid weeks of rain. Stupid. I’ve never been that waterlogged in my life, everything was wet. Everything. In the first quarter-mile we had to wade waist-deep through a stream. I had my boots strung around my neck and was holding my pack above my head. We should have known then and there to turn around and try again when the conditions were better, but we didn’t and we pressed on. A few hours later we found ourselves crossing a beaver dam because the ‘bridge’ was broken and flooded. That was interesting to say the least. We eventually (after a 9 hour hike) got to the second campsite in from the North trail head on Ritchie Lake. Our friends that we were supposed to be meeting halfway (they were coming up from the South) also couldn’t complete the hike because of trail conditions and had to turn back in the end. But we tried and I’m proud that I was even able to attempt something this difficult.
My feet were my downfall. They would have been fine if the trail was dry but it wasn’t and so they weren’t. I have really good quality hiking boots from MEC, I had hiking socks on and a pair of wicking socks underneath, but none of that matters when 75% of your hike is through swamp. I wrung my socks out a few times throughout the hike and each time I got AT LEAST a cup of water out of each one, it was like hiking with aquariums strapped to my feet. What concerned me was that every time I looked at my feet they looked as though I’d been sitting in a bath for half-a-day, but kinda bubbly. It was gross and I was happy to rest them under the heater when we got back to the truck. Even a few days later they still look a bit swollen to me.
James and I will defiantly try hiking again. We realized that we had packed really well and had thought of pretty much everything we needed (except extra laces). It feels nice to be out in the middle of nowhere fending for yourself, paying attention to nature. It’s so quiet and still…except when you wake-up to a furry creature sniffing the top of your head from the other side of the tent. Then you get to see if your husband is a man of his word and if he’ll actually fight a bear for you.