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Colter - Other Trail Journal - 2012

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Colter
City: Fairbanks
State: Alaska
Begins: Mar 1, 2012
Direction: Northbound

Daily Summary
Date: Fri, Jul 6th, 2012
Start: Newport
End: Bead Lake
Trip Distance: 2,120.0

Journal Stats
Entry Visits: 591
Journal Visits: 67,519
Guestbook Views: 6,531
Guestbook Entrys: 83

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Bead Lake Camp

Colville National Forest

Yesterday evening I channel surfed and was surprised to see a very familiar face, a bushy bearded Marty Meierotto. Some of you might have seen my DVD Alone Across Alaska, and if so you undoubtedly remember my buddy Marty who flew me out on that adventure. Smokejumper, Alaska trapper and pilot, he's featured in a history channel show "Mountain Men" or some similar name. It's refreshing to see "the real deal" in a reality show, although of course they needlessly overdramatized it. His real life is plenty dramatic as it is compared to most of us.

I went down to Michael's Cafe and ordered the meatloaf because it was described as a "generous serving." It was, and it was really good, as were the veggies and potatoes, all artistically displayed.

It was nice not packing up first thing this morning. Instead, I made coffee in my room and turned on the TV to watch the news.

I was standing outside Michael's for the 8 AM opening. A big plate of scrambled eggs with all kinds of goodies in there disappeared in short order to the amazement of the waitress.

Back at my room I did a final pack sort, pulling out excess plastic bags and a few dead batteries and bits of trash. The weather report is hot and dry so I set aside my long underwear bottoms and rain pants and a few other items to mail to Boat's house, thereby lightening my pack for the last stretch. I tallied my food and decided I needed 4 breakfasts, 3 lunches and 3 dinners. Then I packed and headed for Safeway.

I stashed my pack by checkout and wandered the breakfast food aisle. To my remaining granola bars and Poptarts I added a box of Life cereal and a bag of granola.

For lunch I selected a variety pack of cheese/peanut butter crackers, a bag of coconut, a box of whole wheat crackers, and a bag of mini chocolate bars. That was added to my remaining trail mix, Craisens, a half jar of peanut butter and a lonely whole wheat bagel.

For dinner I was glad to find some new varieties of that thru-hiker staple Knorrs (Liptons) Sides so I bought four different kinds for good measure to add to the two I already had and the package of "Loaded Baked" instant potatoes.

I sat in the shade near the front door and people watched while I ate a tub of Greek yogurt. Many times through the years I'd done something similar on backpacking, bike and boat trips, lounging in front of a small town store while resupplying, little kids holding their parent's hand turning to look back, people stopping to ask what I was up to. This would be the last time on this trip, and I couldn't help but wonder of there'd be another trip like this in the future for me.

The Pend Oreille river was wide, much wider than I'd remembered. I walked across the long bridge. A mature bald eagle circled around below. Forested islands rose out of the powerful looking greenish water.

I followed the paved road on the other side of the river northward. There was very little shoulder for the first part, but it was easy to step off into the grass when traffic from each direction appeared. Numerous cars waved.

Most of the traffic was left behind when my side road turned off towards Forest Land. My route passed near Walker Lake so I turned at the sign. I'd walked 3/4 of a mile and climbed hundreds of feet when I stopped to check my map and saw that I should have gone straight. It's good to check the map often.

At the Bead Lake Trailhead I left the road and hot sun and followed the trail into the relatively cool shade of the trees. The trail rose and fell as it followed the lake shore. It was fun to look down into the greenish water and for trout. In places there were many of them cruising around. Somewhere in the dark water beyond the drop off were some lunker trout.

By 7:30 the trail was passing through a stand of cedars where there was a nice camp-spot. Despite a start just before noon my GPS showed over 4,100 feet of climbing and 19 miles. That was enough. I rolled out my pad and bag in a nice flat spot and looked at my forest map. The GPS said I was about 1090 miles as the crow flies from
Mexico, yet I'd actually walked nearly double that distance to get here.

As I was falling asleep I heard rustling. Mice. One disadvantage of established camp sites. With my LED light I saw one sprinting towards me where it stopped two feet away with the bright light shining in its eyes. A deer mouse. They can be very bold. If he got at my food he'd be at it all night. Putting on my shoes I found 3 ten foot poles. Making a tripod I hung my gear off the ground right near my head. He woke me up a couple more times searching for food, then finally gave up. I'd had the same problems with mice on the PCT in WA until I avoided established campsites altogether.

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