Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Trip log - Grand Lake: May 20 to 22, 2016 - Day 2

Day 2, AKA "Hike Day". The hike that was 2 years in the planning. After failing to complete the hike in 2014, I was determined to come back and do the whole thing. To be honest, I was nervous. Nervous enough to feel slightly queasy even.

But before I get to the hike, let's start with breakfast. After a great sleep in my new hammock, the day dawned calm and sunny. Breakfast was fresh eggs, pre-cooked bacon, and something I brought here all the way from the Target in Phoenix, Arizona.....hash browns!
Yumminess in a bag!
LT did an excellent job of cooking the eggs. We ended up eating the eggs and bacon while the potatoes cooked. They were pretty much a dehydrated shredded potato with some onion powder. I think I can make these myself. I've failed with dehydrating potatoes so far. But this might be my first success story with the spuds. After all, it's a long way to the Target in Phoenix to restock!

Once the potatoes had soaked up all the water added to them, a big dollop of butter was put in the frypan and the potatoes added. After letting them sit for a while, we attempted to flip them over using my teeny tiny spatula. It didn't work the best, but the taste of the potatoes made up for it.

We digested breakfast, washed dishes, rehung the bear bag so no critters would be lured into our site while we were away. We had experience in walking from this site to the portage starting point. We would do the same today.

Looking at the picture below, we were staying at the campsite I've outlined with a black triangle. We walked from the site back to the abandoned train track, shown with the black line, to the start of the portage.

We would follow the red line from the start of the portage, sometimes under the hydro lines (shown on the map as a grey line with dots - see grey arrow). The apex of the trail is at the blue arrow. The red star marks our destination at Green Leaf Lake.

Hike Stats:
Distance one way: 5.5 kilometers not includig walk to portage start
Starting level: 221 meters above sea level
Peak: 401 meters above sea level
Green Leaf Lake: 257 meters above sea level

We were starting out pretty low, climbing 180 meters, dropping back down 160 meters, then turning around and doing it in reverse. It was becoming a very warm day. We were thankful for the shade provided in the forested areas of the trail. Although the forest brought blackflies!

Hydro lines aren't very fussy about terrain. Steep hills? No problem. Rocky? No problem. I was very glad to have my hiking poles with me. They were essential for the downhill portions.

It was apparent that the rangers had been on this trail two days earlier. But they weren't on foot like us, there were tracks from the ATV they had used to climb this steep mountain. At times I was pretty envious of their motorized transport.

LT was great with me, he insisted on taking regular breaks. He reminded me to drink water and eat snacks. I had made a rice, chicken, veggies lunch in our thermoses at breakfast. We waited to eat them until after we finished all the climbing.

On our last attempt on this trail, we had made it just past the apex, which is slightly more than halfway. The trail was familiar to us until this point. After that, we were amazed at how the trail just was one big long straight line that went down without any flat spots.

LT had packed our snack bags for the trip. Each bag contained cashews, almonds, dried bananas, dried pineapple, sugared peanuts, BBQ peanuts, and to top it off, a big sour gummy! He had brought 2 liters of water. I stubbornly only brought one. He was using his new fanny pack to carry his lunch, snack and water bottles. I am not that comfortable with a pack cinched only at my waist. I had emptied out my big backpack and put in only what I needed for the hike. The weight was distributed nicely on my back.

We finally made it to the bottom of the hill where we crossed under the hydro lines and started the 440 meter portage into Green Leaf Lake. This short section of the trail mostly comprises huge boulders excellently placed to break a leg if you don't pay attention. It was nice to be doing this trail without our gear.

We got to the lake, found a rock to sit on and took our snacks out again. I realized that I was going to run out of water. Oops. As both of us finished our first bottle of water, LT kindly poured half of his second bottle into mine. 
GoPro photo of Green Leaf Lake
After a nice long break sitting by this pretty lake, we turned around and started back. We were prepared for the long climb back and LT was good at distracting me as we kept going up. Shortly after the apex we found a suitable place on the trail to stop and eat our lunch. Making our lunches at breakfast and putting it into a Thermos is a great thing we figured out last year. (Thanks, Chef Glen)

The trip down was almost harder than the trip up. I was putting a lot of weight on my hiking poles. I was glad I had better footwear this time around. I had bought a pair of light Keen hikers and I was wearing them now. At least the slight breeze was at our face as we were descending down under the hydro lines.

When we got back to our campsite, I lay down for a few minutes in my hammock to get my batteries recharged. That was one heck of a hike! I don't know how anyone gets a canoe up this trail!

The total distance we walked was probably 12 kilometers. I was wearing my Fitbit and it told me that we had climbed the equivalent of 66 flights of stairs!

LT went out in the canoe again to get some more water from the middle of the lake for filtering. The rest of the afternoon was for relaxing. Well, what was left of it as we had been gone 5 hours.
Our view of the lake (circa 2014)
While we were relaxing in the bug shelter, a strange wind blew up over the lake coming towards us with quite the strength. Behind the wind, we could see the sunshine along the horizon. I kept saying that I didn't think it was going to last, but we had to prepare if it did. LT walked around the campsite to find a place we could set up tarps and hunker down behind them. Then we rehung my hammock. I had been perpendicular to the lake, with my head towards the water. My fly would not protect me in this configuration. We hung it parallel to the shoreline and much lower. When I would get out of the hammock now, I'd be on my hands and knees on the ground. LT figured that it was a cold front that was blowing through.

Dinner tonight was a new recipe for me, lasagna. I had found some long noodles that are about half an inch wide with lasagna curly edges. At home I had boiled up the whole bag, dried them in my dehydrator, then broke them into shorter pieces once dried.

Everything was thrown in the same pot: noodles, dried ground beef, tomato sauce leather, dried veggies (mushrooms, celery, red peppers). I added boiling water and let it sit for a while. Then we fired up the stove and cooked it over low heat for about 10-15 minutes. I had 4 mozzarella cheese string packets and some parmesan cheese to add at the end. Verdict? This is definitely going to be a regular dinner choice!

Dessert again was a new recipe. Banana-mango pudding. I had cooked frozen mango chunks, blended them with bananas and dried that mix into a leather. I rehydrated this leather in the Thermos, then once it was ready, added homemade granola topping. It was also YUMMY! Another dessert choice in the expanding menu for camping!

Dishes were done, the food/dishes/toiletries bags were hung, and we munched some chocolate in the impending darkness. The strange wind didn't make a reappearance so we were okay for the night. After the big hike we were both ready for bed early.

Planning the trip                 Day 1                  Day 3                  2014 trip

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