The wind is pushing small waves across Feldtmann Lake. The sun won’t set for at least another half hour but it has long since vanished from my view obscured by trees. The temperature is about 56F and no doubt it will get nippy tonight, but at least the rain may hold off. It has been a decent first day. Six more to go.
The day started out dreary, cool, and damp. Rain was in the air and by the time I boarded my Roayle Air Service flight at noon it was spitting. I was joined by 3 other people: a couple who were going to stay a couple day at the lodge, and a guy with a 42 pound pack who was staying through Saturday. I hope they have fun. The flight was smooth and uneventful. We dropped the others off at Rock Harbor and picked up a lodge employee. She was heading to the mainland to attend the wedding of her daughter. Twenty minutes later after flying down the northern shore we reach Windigo and Washington Harbor. The landing was smooth enough that if you had not been watching you might not have noticed. It was 13:24 and time to bid the seaplane goodbye. I took care of what needed doing at the ranger station before going to the small store to get fuel and lunch. That place hasn’t changed. The couple who run it haven’t changed either it seems. As I ate my lunch I chatted with a couple who were coming to the end of their trip. They had base camped at a couple places using the Voyaguer to get around the island. Camping without the backpacking (mostly) part. They had a fine time and told me the weather had been great up to now. It was cool and cloudy with a tiny blue patch trying to expand as we watched. That patch would grow and by the time I was hoisting my load and starting to walk the trail the sky was almost cloudless.
Once i set out on the trail the small sounds of Windigo quickly went away. Their are a few people here including a couple campers, park staff, and the store people. I saw a group of very young adults going somewhere with fishing rods I think. Based on how they were dressed I think they must be working here and taking a break. I will never know.
The trail was as I remembered it from 3 years ago. I found I was walking well and the bugs were not too bothersome - yet (i would later regret not having a whodunit). The path seemed wetter this time and I think I crossed more bog bridges as I walked along Washington Harbor before turning inland and ascending to Feldtmann Ridge.
The incessant buzz of mosquitos, some of which really engorged themselves before I could squish them, was kept company by the far more pleasant calls of birds. I don’t think I heard any loons, but other land and water fowl abound. I wish I could have seen them. I did not see any moose or even really get a sense that any were near. Of course, given my vision this is not surprising.
I loved walking the ridge with its perfusion of yellow and white flowers that I know I should know. The wind up there also helped keep the bugs at bay. The ridge is also a bit less overgrown. I can’t believe how wet my shoes and socks got from brushing against the plants that were everywhere. I really doubt they’ll dry. Many sections of trail were invisible due to the extensive plant growth (as i sit here typing I swear the ground just rumbled under my butt. Could a moose have just gone by.).
The walking was going pretty well. I thought I was zipping right along and when I came to the campground sign that was confirmed: 4 hours to go 8.6 miles. I was a bit tired. I was ready for a bite of dinner and definitely ready to stop pushing through plants. I settled on campsite 3 which is where Joe and I stayed last time. This time I have the campground to myself. I have not seen anyone since I started down the trail. After dinner I strolled to Rainbow point. Not good. The point was pretty enough but the mosquitos were more aggressive on the trail to the point and at the point proper. No way I was going to hang out and feed the buggers. It was a bit disappointing to not have any desire to stay, but it was clear it was time to get under cover. I hope the bugs relent some tomorrow.