Another “sleep in” day. Though we didn’t want to wait too long, because hiking before the sun is up is just more comfortable at this time of year. I still had a headache, and I wasn’t sure why. Maybe I hadn’t washed my hair well enough? Maybe the shampoo flakes that I had didn’t really work? 

As we left the campsite, we got to see the beaver again, swimming and splashing in the stream. Ambrose thought it was weird for the beaver to be there because there weren’t any trees beavers like nearby; it is a mystery. 

A short hike got us from our campsite all the way over to our next crossing. Ambrose took his boots off for the crossing, and I took a tree. This crossing usually has a lot of fallen trees bridging it, so I had a choice. I took a look at the options and picked the one closest to the trail. I’m not super scared of heights, but for some reason, crossing a stream on a log gets my nervous. Heart pounding, clammy skinned, tight breathed nervous. It freaks me out, even though I’ve never fallen off one. It scares me, and I do it anyway, just to avoid getting my feet wet. 

Getting ready to go in the morning.

In the water, there’s a splash, and that’s from the beaver.

We hiked by several muddy wallows and could smell the animals had been using it.

The crossing!

Ambrose walked through the crossing.

After that, we reached stands of dead trees that weren’t dead the last time we were there. At first, I thought there might have been another fire, but these trees weren’t burned. They were just dead. Had to have been some sort of blight to kill so many trees at once. And they were short, skinny trees that had hardly gotten started. I was a bit sad to see it. And not just because dead trees cast less shade. 

There’s a disused trail called Three Blazes Trail that intersects our trail somewhere between where we camped and the Chamberlain Air Strip. We hadn’t been able to find where it was until this trip. It was break time, and I saw a fire pit off to the side of the trail, so I pulled us over there for it so we wouldn’t be on the trail. And lo and behold, we found the tree that used to have the Three Blazes trail sign on it. So that was neat. 

Fire pit right by the trail.

Looking out across the meadow, lots of dead trees 🙁

That’s three blazes! Three Blaze Trail was here!

We saw a few planes going in and out of Chamberlain as we approached, and guessed at what they were doing, especially the ones that clearly landed and took off after a very brief time on the ground. 

The sun was up, but not very high, when we reached the air strip. Before 10 am! I was happy at that, but increasinly irritated at my headache. I decided it was time to hit it with coffee, because we now had the time to get that done, and I had packed out a bunch of espresso powder and hardly used it. 

The pit toilet was there, nice and clean. No toilet paper, but I was happy to bring my own for the privilege of sitting for my business. 

Ambrose got us water to do laundry while I emptied out the bear canister to use for the washing part. We don’t have laundry soap, but out there, even a rinse with water can make an incredible difference to how your clothes feel. By that point, my shirt and pants were positively encrusted with salt and dirt. 

I love a good pit toilet in the wilderness.

Same spot we’ve stayed at every time, though the logs have been reconfigured.

We both displayed appallingly bad etiquette when we first arrived. It was all about dumping out packs and getting out clothes to wash and not about keeping everything close by and in its proper place. We spread ourselves and our gear out around the campsite that we claimed (same one we claim every time). We got laundry done and hanging out to dry, and then we spent the afternoon chasing shade and trying not to overheat. 

I did see one plane take off, just as Ambrose was getting back with the first bag of water. The plane either had no doors, or the doors just weren’t shut when they taxied by us and then took off. Bold, I say. Not something I would want to do, but to each their own. 

Ambrose got his tarp out and we moved from shady spot to shady spot through the day. The coffee finally eliminated my headache, but I did do a more completely cleansing, including another hair wash, during the day. Ambrose did a “shower” with his water bag hanging from a nail on a tree and got rinsed off well. 

Around dinner time, Ambrose got to work setting up the tent and I got to go get water. We only had a little dirty water left in one of the bags, and I dumped it on myself before braving the harsh sun on the trail down to the water. I also wet myself pretty well in the stream where I got water. I was wearing my sleep bra instead of my hiking bra, and I counted on it to stay damp and keep me cool for a long time. That’s the whole reason that it’s a sleep bra and not a hiking bra – it refuses to dry quickly. 

A pretty good pitch by Ambrose.

Ambrose hiding from the sun.

Ambrose’s camera had run out of battery, so I gave him mine and asked him to take pictures of whatever he wanted. This is what he chose.

We ate dinner and consolidated the campsite so most everything was in the tent, where it belonged. The next day would be another of the long days, and so we planned to get up very early and get as far as possible before the sun started frying our brains. 

It’s weird to go to sleep when it’s still light out, but I’m used to it by now. Still feels weird, but I can do it. Though I often take some sort of sleep aid out there, either because I’m too sore to sleep or I want to stay up past bed time and shouldn’t. 

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