My brain turned on its snooze button meaning we had a little 30 minute sleep in by the lake. Around 7:30 we were off down the hill switching this way and that down it’s  rocky turns till we reached Packsaddle Campground. It seems to me that, like bears, hiker trash now hang around the edges of these sites for a moment or two scouting for opportunities for extra calories and, if nothings provided, we slowly slink off on our way back into the woods.

We climbed up an exposed rocky slope that sapped our energy with aid from the morning heat and dipped in and out of woodland along the slopes ridge for hours. Patches of snow turned up here and there, but it was clear this was its dying attempts to hang around. From exposed points on the ridge we could see the many lakes that nestle themselves among the dense forests below. Some even had boats zooming along their surface making both Molly and I homesick as we watched them while eating lunch.

Homesickness was the theme of the day, it struck both of us in its own way dragging us down with its weight. We slogged on silent in thought through more woodland and snow, trying to push back thoughts of family that would overwhelm us at any second. After another long but steady woodland climb we switchbacked our way into a canyon at the bottom of which was a flowing river.

The trail followed its flow for miles from above along which we encountered a deer and her fawn just meters in front of us. The path seemed to go on for an age, but finally around “Western Branch Bear-trap Creek” we found suitable water and camp. Emotionally, it had been a tough day and we were certainly slowed by our homely thoughts, but some days you just have to succumb, it’s just another part of the trail.