Day 6: Pickerel Lake to Landslide Lookout

7-11 sunsetI’m only a mile or two from the 45th parallel, I can feel its energy. The invisible line between the Equator and the North Pole is a symbol to me, a sign of passing from my old life into my new. It’s a way of making a fresh start. I can’t wait to cross it tomorrow.

I’m camping illegally right now but it’s a beautiful spot, I’m not close to any official sites, the sun is setting and I don’t want to go any further.

Today started out tough but I overcame! I stopped after 5 miles and had a big early lunch. That put me in a bad mood, which worsened when I thought I was lost. I got into the habit of checking my watch frequently and the lack of progress was disappointing every time.

I stopped moping though when things got serious. I missed a water stop and ran out the last of what I was carrying. It was really hot. I walked over 5 miles to the next water source labeled on my map, a well. I found it but it turned out to be broken. I started to get scared.

Luckily, there was a lake nearby. It made me a little crazy to wait for the iodine to purify the water and I probably didn’t give it the full time it needed. When I finally got to drink I was shocked to realize just how dehydrated and out of it I’d been.

7-11_cemetaryI made it to the “village” of Alba (even their cemetery is empty) and stocked up on groceries at a tiny gas station. Wow. I had a great time at there! I took off my pack to give my shoulders a break. I charged my phone in an outlet that I found behind the self-serve coffee machine. I took my time perusing the two short aisles like I had a serious purchasing decision to make. I bought an ice cream cone and let myself enjoy it. I bought cherries from a farm stand and ate the whole huge bag for dinner.

On a sugar high and feeling strong, I sang loudly the last few miles into my unofficial campsite.

As soon as I arrived I squatted to pee and realized I had to poop too! Somehow this is the first time I have had to go in the woods; there have been strategically located bathrooms along my path so far. Too late to reconsider, I plopped down on the dirt. Not good. First of all, I hadn’t dug a hole. Secondly, I had no shovel to dig with (still haven’t bought one yet). A hoard of flies descended before I even pulled my shorts up.

I wanted to deal with it both for the sake of being a good camper-person and because Iwas horrified by the idea of flies landing on me after touching a turd. Frantically, I grabbed two sticks, scratched out a “hole” and scooped the pile in. The flies were still there. I ripped up the soiled grass and buried it all. The flies were still there. I scratched out a perimeter around the pile, squirted some cooking alcohol on it and lit it on fire. It worked. I shoved the sticks in the ground, poo-side down and laughed like a maniac. Not only am I camping illegally, I alsoshat out in the open and started a tiny forest fire! One last act of idiocy before I start my “new life” tomorrow right?

Continue to the next entry in the series here: Day 7: Landslide Lookout to Side of the tracks

Go back to the last entry int he series here: Day 4: Sand Lake to Log Lake

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