IRNP, Day 3, Feldtmann Lake to Siskiwit Bay, 10.2 miles

Suddenly a mist of green on the trees, as quiet as thought.

Dorothy Richardson
One of millions of dew covered spider webs on Feldtmann Ridge.
One of millions of dew covered spider webs on Feldtmann Ridge.

It drizzled last night and my lake is shrouded in dense fog. I notice for the first time witch hair moss draped over branches of the big cedar where I hung Blueberry, hopefully high out of long black-socks-fox’s reach.  

No swimming this morning as I put on rain gear, mostly for the shrubbery car wash to come. The wind is high as I make tea and eat bars. Here’s hoping it gives me views from the Feldtmann fire tower. 

Almost immediately, I cross an oily wetland on boards, one broken and sunken, but the ranger told me it was safe if I move slowly. I tell myself it is forbidden to fall and shuffle across. 

The forest is dark and wet and I move well alone in the early morning. I know the ridge comes soon and it appears as stairs heading straight up to pines. The sun pushes through silvery and bright. Crickets with fancy wings leap out of my way as my feet walk on large stones in a kind of concrete emulsion. 

The view did not improve the higher I climbed.
The view did not improve the higher I climbed.
The way of the chanterelle.
The way of the chanterelle.

I pass a large pile of shredded hair and wonder what struggle happened here. There’s no view whatsoever; twisted branches eerily reach up through the mist. 

Thousands of spiderwebs outlined in water droplets glisten as I pass. Oddly, long filaments as much as 20 feet long string from branch to branch. A sandhill crane sounds her clackety metal noise maker alarm as I pass, every note echoing in the canyon below. Seven lift at once on magnificent wings. 

They circle as I stand transfixed only to return and again fly off, so close I hear the whoosh of their wings. I walk in and out of trees, imagining the scene I might have seen. A large beaver dam holds a pond above the trail and I maneuver just below, wondering how many live in this community – and even more so, how beaver found their way here at all? 

The fire tower floats into view, crows cackle and I take a break. Nothing improves after 48 steps, so with a laugh, and whistling “Play Misty for Me” to the silence, I head down. Moose tracks are everywhere, some sliding on the muddy slope. I pass piles of fresh poop and wonder if I’ll see them today. 

The first two hikers I passed on the trip. They told me they hadn't seen anyone for days.
The first two hikers I passed on the trip. They told me they hadn’t seen anyone for days.
Wolf tracks.
Wolf tracks.
A warbler comes closer when I call to it.

I pass a couple who tell me to take the shelter with a view at the bay and I tell them to nab site two at the lake. Another couple comes by and tells me their site further on then where i plan to stop was packed last night. Good thing I’m not headed that way. 

I’m on a long, straight, flat section with raspberry bushes over my head. Along the way are flattened down areas where moose bed down. I notice wolf tracks in the mud as big as my fist. Dragonflies hover in the grass, one a bright red with blue wings. 

It’s clearing and getting hot, but it feels close as more cedar appear and a different type of meadow. Two yellow butterflies flutter in harmony. 

At the turnoff, I come to the huge dock with five bulldozers ready for work the beginning of the week (tomorrow.) It’s deserted with my pick of shelters. I hang up the alicoop to dry and organize my things, filter water, then come inside for a nap. 

My cozy space in shelter one at Siskiwit Bay.
My cozy space in shelter one at Siskiwit Bay.
Lots of graffiti, some vulgar, some self-aggrandizing and some just silly.
Lots of graffiti in the shelters, some vulgar, some self-aggrandizing and some just silly.
Klingons.
Klingons.

What luxury! It’s a three-sided Adirondack shelter with a screened-in fourth side. The sun finally peaks out and shows the mountains ahead I will climb over tomorrow. Butterflies land on my drying clothes and I drift right off. 

Christian and Jamie take the other shelter and it’s only us again tonight. They tell me to expect rain tomorrow and a scrawny black fox visits for handouts. (I disappoint him by banging a pot instead.)  

Well, it might rain and it might not. That’s tomorrow and right now the air feels crisp and I am comfortably spread out in a massive structure all my own. The fog returns, then lifts for a beautiful sunset and returns again, only to slightly reveal the mountain before I decide to close my eyes and prepare for whatever tomorrow brings. 

Thank goodness it was Sunday, a day of rest.
Thank goodness it was Sunday, a day of rest.
The resident black fox vacuums up any crumbs I left behind.
The resident black fox vacuums up any crumbs I left behind.
Sunset and tanks.
Sunset and tanks.

Published by alison young

Alison Young is the Blissful Hiker, a voice artist and sometime saunterer. 📣🐥👣🎒

Reader Comments

  1. When I did the flat part, it was rainy and wet and I dropped a bunch of F-bombs. Glad you had a better experience. I swear I saw that same fox.

    1. HA! well, fbombs are to expected. 😉 It was pretty wet with rain and fog, but then I also had scintillatingly sunny days. One guy – who has been coming to IR for YEARS – told me he gives the resident camp foxes a snack if they pose. FOR SURE, that was the same fox!!

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