Saturday, July 30, 2011

Perch Lake to Point Detour

I actually slept pretty well at the Perch Lake Campground. It was funny to hear, as I went to bed, frogs hoping around the site foraging. I had seen a lot of frogs in the area, mostly green frogs but some tree frogs too, and it seems they have no qualms about hoping into a campsite looking for bugs. I figured with so many frogs, there wasn't much chance that there were raccoons or bears in the area, since I would think the frogs would make easy prey.

I awoke to the call of a loon over the lake. I got up, ate breakfast, finished up my trip report from the previous day, and hit the road a little late, around 8:30 or 9. It was about 5 miles to Delta, where I saw the famous Delta Diner. But I had JUST eaten breakfast, plus I still wasn't feeling well, so I didn't have an appetite for anything at all.

Shortly there after the pavement ended and I rode off into the "north woods". The thing is, I never felt like I got to the north woods. I think because the whole place has been cut over, in most cases a couple times, and all the trees are small, most below 12" DBH, none more than 24" in diameter, I never felt like I was in a mature forest. It seems that the Northwoods are more legend anymore than real place, something that was and that will hopefully be again.

At one point in the morning I was trying to take a photo of the road ahead of me when my camera battery died. This was unfortunate because it means that the rest of the photos for today will have to be taken with my crappy iPhone camera. But it was fortunate in that after stopping I looked off to the side of the road and found some twayblade orchids! I did the best I could photographing them with the iPhone, it took me about 15 mintes to get 2 or 3 passable shots (at least I'll be able to identify them to species later).

So anyway, I'm riding through the woods, and things start to change. No more wetlands, streams or lakes, and the soil gets very sandy. A lot of the trees are scrubby black oaks and the pinyon-like jack pines. It turns out there is a large are up here of very dry upland forest. There were a few aspen and long-needled red (and possibly Austrian?) pine mixed into, especially in plantations and wildlife pots. It was really reminiscent of northern Arizona, and if someone had blindfolded me and dropped me off back there and told me I was in the White Mountains at 8000 ft, I would have believed them, for a while.

With the sand came challenging roads, but these sand roads were pretty fun actually. Sure there were some washed out corners and climbs I had to walk up, but most of it was ridiable, and it kept me on my toes. I know I'm being repetitive but it really was like one of those rides on the dirt backroads of the Coconino National Forest. This is the most remote feeling area I have ever been in in the midwest. I went hours without seeing any sign of civilization (other than the roads of course). I was feeling good and having fun, and I was regretting less having to skip so much trail the previous day.

And there was almost no one out there. I didn't see anyone for hours. Then all of the sudden I saw 6 bear "hunter's" trucks in 15 minutes.

The truck parked next to this one had 3 VERY bored looking hounds in it.

I will spare you my rant about bear hunting with hounds, but suffice it to say it is the most cowardly and unsportsman-like form of "hunting".

A while later I was still cruising along with my headphone in when I heard the ravens making a ruckus in the woods not 50 feet away from me. So I got off the bike to have a look-see. I never found anything, but when I was walking out I heard a large animal moving away. IT could have been a deer, but why would the ravens be mobbing a deer? I'm guessing it was a bear.

Not two minutes later I'm looking down the road and I see a canine. A wolf?!?!? No, too small, just a coyote. Before I can figure out how I might get a photo using my iPhone of a coyote that's 50 yards away he sees me and bolts off into the woods. His fresh tracks were pretty small and didn't make much of an impression in the hardened sandy soil:

Just a mile or so later I'm pondering tracks when I look down and see wolf tracks!

The only other thing that could make tracks like that would be a large dog. They were not particularly fresh since they had been driven over by an ATV, but still very cool to see. And I do suppose that a guy could have been out with his big husky running ahead of his ATV, but, the next set of tracks would be harder to explain away. A few minutes later I remembered that I have a Scat and Tracks of North America iPhone app, that would have come in handy, doh!

So I finally get to a short stretch of paved county highway, I have to admit I was getting a little antsy about being alone in wolf territory with no-one around for miles.  But before long I was back on remote back roads. Here the soil was more of a sandy clay, and the foliage reflected the soils increased water holding capacity, I was back in forest with a mix of broadleaf trees (mostly maple and big-tooth aspen) and tall pines. This soil type made for very rutted roads with multiple truck and ATV tire tracks preserved like ancient dinosaur tracks in the stones of Utah. Challenging riding for sure, I'm just glad it wasn't wet, since it would have surely been impossible.

My first view of Lake Superior.

This soil also made for good animal track impressions. I was looking down at a set of coyote tracks, when I noticed that a bear had crossed the same path!

A mile or two later, I found these:

There's no other explanation for these, they are definitely wolf tracks! According to my iPhone app these were laid out in the "side trot" pattern.

I finally made it through all of these rolling rutted roads and onto the state highway for 2 miles before turning north once more on the final run to the lake. This area definitely reminded me of the Traverse City region with a lot of nice homes and vacations houses scattered in a mixed environment of forest and agricultural land (mostly hayfield and old pasture).

The road slowly graded downhill for a while, and then I was finally at Point Detour, the northern-most point of mainland Wisconsin!

Dipping my tire in Lake Superior so that I had completed the ride across every inch of the state. It was a lot of effort to get the bike down to the water over the big rocks along the shoreline, but this was, of course, absolutely necessary to complete the journey.

Happy camper, with an Aposole's island in the background.

Speaking of camping, there is a "primitive" campground right at point detour, I think its part of the Red Cliff Indian Reservation. Its kind of an odd place, some sites have picnic tables but not all, some have fire pits, and most are mowed. Only a half dozen or so about of the 2 dozen sites have all these amenities, and then there are some picnic tables randomly placed near the one pit toilet, cause people love to picnic next to outhouses.

I picked a spot with 2 trees and a picnic table and set up camp.

Having gotten there around 7pm, I though I was coming in kind of late, and there were only 2 other groups in the whole campground, but before I went to bed another 6-8 groups arrived. I guess since its Friday people got off of work and got here as soon as they could.

I have been seeing this butterfly a lot for the entire trip, but I can't find it in my Butterflies of WI iPhone app. I saw one in my campsite so I took a photo of it. Anyone know what it is?

Total of 62 miles ridden today, despite the sand, rocks and ruts, it felt pretty east.

Now one leg of this journey is over. Tomorrow I head to Ashland, where I will meet up with Carol for a half-day off and she will resupply me for my ride across Michigan's upper peninsula.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Day 8: the singletrack I had to short-cut

I got a pretty late start this (Thursday) morning with all the blog posting. Hmm the blog is supposed to HELP me by being a record of my journey, not make me late, I'll have to work on that.

It was a short ride along the first few (paved) miles of the Cheq. Fat Tire 40 race course to the trailhead, where I got my first taste of singletrack on the trip!

These were great trails and though riding a fully loaded touring bike on them is fun, its not quite as fun as if I were on a light and nimble mountain bike. The trails were a bit damp from the rain the previous day, so there was some slipping around on wet rocks. Overall the bike handled it very well, the semi-slick tires for example tend to have less traction than standard MTB tires, but with all the extra weight on them from my gear they gripped pretty well.

These single track trails more or less paralleled the Birkebeiner trail (a 40k XC Ski race) and crossed this wide mowed pass pretty regularly. Things were going pretty well for a while, but I was making slow progress. After two hours I had only covered 12 miles. Singletrack is tough on a fully loaded bike, plus I was stopping fairly often to take photos.

At one point I heard/saw a sawyer in the woods cutting up a large paper birch. It was hot and humid, pretty miserable weather for chainsaw work. He had gotten his saw pinched in the log so I offered to help. After I jumped on the butt end of the log a couple times he managed to pull it free, saving him from having to take the bar and chain off of his saw in order to work it free. He was out there cutting along and without safety gear (other than earplugs and gloves) NOT SAFE! But he said his partner would be back soon.

But shortly after that, my luck started to change. First, my Everything Rack, the one holding my 1 pound sleeping bag, broke off!

At first I tried to mend this using cable ties and those straps you see wrapped around the stuff sack, by wrapping these around the fork leg. I got it rolling again, but problem with this set-up is that the bag was then free to rotate around the fork leg. It was clear this was not going to work, but the mosquitos were ravenous and the deer flies were annoying, so I decided to wait to try to work out plan B until I crossed the Birkie trail and could be out in the open a bit with fewer bugs. Before I could get that far the sleeping bag slipped into the front wheel and I endoed. I wasn't hurt, but my waterproof stuff sack was torn. The mosquitos were ferocious, so I cut the sleeping bag loose and carried it my hand as I Rode a couple hundred feet to a Birkie trail crossing.

Turns out I had also torn apart one of the straps that held the sleeping bag on and when I stuffed the everything cage in the side of my pannier the sharp edges cut a hole in my toilet paper bag. I decided it was time to sit down for some repair and a late lunch. I sewed up the strap, ducted taped the two bags, and ate tortillas and hummus. I even had a little cell phone reception, so I managed to shoot off an email to Salsa, begging them for a replacement to be sent to Ashland. Then I was feeling pretty sleepy, so I took a short cat nap.

Twenty minutes later I was still feeling tired, but I had to get going, it had been over 2 hours since the cage broke, and I had made less than a mile of progress since then. I strapped the sleeping bag to my handlebars, which cut off a hand position, but it held well there. But while I was packing up the rest of my gear, I relayed I was more than just sleepy or hungry, I was feeling sick.

I was having another spell of what I call Random Fatigue Syndrome. In mid-summer I sometimes have days where I get tired, sluggish and weak randomly from early-afternoon to early-evening (though sometimes it will start in late-morning or last until late-evening). Sometimes it will effect me for days on end, other times just a day here or there. Doctors have never been able to diagnose what my problem is, they have told me that I had anemia, I was too stressed out or that it was all in my head. I suspect it has something to do with food, but I'm not sure what exactly or how, but I don't think its coincidence that it usually starts after lunch.

Anyway, I knew better than to try to ride singletrack in this condition. That's how I broke my arm back in 2005. Plus it was now about 4pm, and I was only 15 miles into what was supposed to be a 60 mile day. So I made the tough decision to short-cut the course. This meant cutting out the remaining 15 or so miles of singletrack on the route and dumping out onto a highway. But at least on the highway it would be easy going, and I wouldn't risk crashing and hurting myself out in the middle of no-place. I really regret missing that singletrack, but I am now determined to come back up here for a weekend yet this year to ride these trails and enjoy them properly.

I rode the Birkie trail out to the forest roads, and found one of the legendary warming houses used for the event. They really go all-out for that ski race!

So I cut over to US-63 on a dirt road that looked suspiciously like part of the Cheq. Fat Tire 40 course. The highway itself was well paved with a 4' shoulder, but there was a lot of traffic, including semis. I had become pretty accustomed to almost no car traffic, for example on my 96 mile day rolling into Hayward I think maybe a dozen cars passed me all day until I hit the last stretch of highway coming into town.

Thing went slow but smoothly. After 18 years of cycling, my body is pretty sued to it, and I can spin along at a slow speed at about the same effort most people put into walking. I was averaging about 13mph as I passed through Cable and onto the outskirts of Drummond. Here I left the highway, and rode north on a paved forest road to the Perch Lake Campground where I stayed the night.

My cyclocomputer when out of whack again today (I think my iPhone is zapping it!), but my best estimate is that I covered about 43 miles today. But because the Trans-WI route is pretty circuitous in this area, trying to gobble up as much singletrack as possible, I think I covered the equivalent of 65 miles on the route. Still, looking at my map, I am expecting it will be about 70 miles to the shore of Lake Superior where I will camp tomorrow night. I better get an early start in case RFS decides to rear its ugly head again in the afternoon.

UPDATE: It sounds like Salsa is going to try to get an Everything Cage shipped to me in Ashland so I'll have it for the rest of my trip!

Location:Delta-Drummond Rd,Mason,United States

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Two days in the wilds

So its Thursday morning now, I am all caught up writing blog post, and you are all caught up reading. I am getting a late start today, probably won't roll out until 9:30, because it takes a little longer than I had though to write these reports and all of the other things I need to do.

I have a big challenge ahead of me over the next two days. Its about 130 miles to the north end of the state, then at least 20 miles to civilization in Bayfield from there. Today will start on the Chequamegon Fat Tire 40 route, but will mostly follow some of the legendary trails this area is known for. I am looking forward to riding some fun trails, but I don't expect to cover ground quickly.

Furthermore, I will only be traveling through two towns today, Drummond after about 30 miles and Delta after 40 (and Delta hardly qualifies as a town!), and as far as I can tell, there are no towns for the rest of the ride. So in Delta I will fill up my water bottle, camelbak bladder (which resides off of my back in my frame bag to keep the weight off my body), and I will fill up the camelbak bladder that I just bought and store it in a pannier. I expect I will be able to get water somewhere in the following 90 miles, but I have no idea where, so I need to be ready. I do have some water treatment tablets I can use to get water from a stream or lake if necessary, so don't worry about me.

And I have packed plenty of food. All of this will weigh me down significantly, but its all necessary as I roll off into the wilderness.

I expect cell phone communication will be unavailable, and I won't have any internet access until Ashalnd. There I will meet up with Carol for a day or half-day off the bike before heading across the U.P.

The weather looks perfect for touring, highs in the low-80's and low's in the low-60's with no rain in the forecast, at least until Sunday.

So now I need to sign off, finish packing up and get on the road. Wish me luck!

Day 7: Rest day in Hayward

Wednesday was a good day for a rest stop for a lot of reasons. I was starting to get tired after 6 days of riding, and rest would make me stronger. I was also getting some saddle sore, and 36 hours off of the bike would help a lot. I was running low on food, needed a few supplies and repairs. And all of this corresponded with a storm front coming through, so it was a good opportunity to hunker down out of the rain.

It is amazing how a day off can get entirely filled up with little things to do. Much of the morning was spent on the hassle of Carol trying to wire money to me. Western Unions website said that there were two locations in town that I could pick up money from, but after visiting and calling each of these, it turns out, the closest place to pick up money is 50 miles south. We had to cancel that and use Money Gram instead, which I picked up at WalMart.

I then stopped at Blue Moon Cycles to get my drivetrain issue looked at and buy some energy food, then a lunch of ice cream, shopping for a dromedary bag (ended up getting another 100oz camelbak bladder from the bike shop instead), then went to go see Harry Potter, route researching, dinner and grocery shopping. I also did some laundry, cleaned and lubed my drivetrain, did a couple blog entires, started packing up my gear... and more.

Still didn't get it all done, and here I am Thursday morning still filling out trip reports!

So a total of 5 miles ridden running errands around town.

Day 6: Long hall into Hayward

A bad dream woke me up at first light in the park just south of Kennan. I packed up quickly and the road. Keenan was a town that had seen better days, in an agricultural area carved out of the old north woods. But it wasn't long before the farmland yielded to the forest:

It was a chilly morning, temperatures dropping to the lower 50's as I entered the lowland wetlands a few miles north of town and the gravel roads that cut through the national forest.

One of these gravel roads dead-ended in a gate, beyond it a double-track trail with a sign that read something to the effect of "no vehicles allowed, hikers and hunters only" There is a debate as to weather a cyclist and his/her bike are a pedestrian or a vehicle, and at this particular moment I decided I was not a vehicle, and I was hunting adventure afterall, so I proceeded on the route. This lead me to the Kimberly-Clark State Wildlife Area:

Because wildlife love it when you cut down their forest and turn it into toilet paper.

I almost made a major navigational error right off the bat, and who knows where that would have taken me, my paranoia about getting off-route in the wilds saved me this time. The trail was clear overall, but completely overgrown with grasses, sedges and rushes. Ridable, but challenging.

It didn't help that there were two dozen deer flies flying around me at any given time.

because the trail was so overgrown, I really couldn't see what I was riding through. A lot of the trail was rutted, and the semi-slick MTB tire on front was finally starting to pay off since the side-knobs could grab on the edges of the ruts and pull me out of them, where as I would probably have just fallen over with touring tires. But I also couln't see hazards in the trail, and one time I was fiddling with my GPS trying to see how far it was out of these crazy trails, when I hit a huge pothole where a culvert had blown out. I managed to get my left hand back on the bars to stabilize the bike and ride through the hole, but in doing so I pinched my thumb under my palm, and hurt it pretty bad. I'm not sure what I did exactly, maybe a sprain, but the lowest joint (where it meets the palm) began to swell and is still a little sore 48 hours later.

There were almost 5 miles of these overgrown trail, which got kind-of frustrating since I was so tired. But finally I was back out on a gravel road. After "borrowing" an outhouse at a cabin where I had an interesting wildlife encounter, I stopped for a snack break at a boat launch, where I enjoyed the lake view and watched duckweed get sucked into the culvert under the road.

Before long I was on State Highway 70 heading west. I was feeling pretty exhausted, so I just put my head down and ground through it.

Self Portrait, shadow on gravel, 2011.

This didn't stop me from enjoying the view when I crossed the Flambeau River:

I may or may not have canoed along this stretch of river when I was a kid.

A few miles later, I turned north onto gravel, put the earbud on and started grinding out the gravel miles. I still had miles and miles to go, I was only about half way, and feeling as tired as I was the gravel started to feel frustratingly slow. But the music helped alot, and over time I finally started to "warm-up" and feel more energetic.

Then I realized I had lost my wallet.

I did a quick search of my gear, but couldn't find it. I had see it the night before, but it could have been anywhere over a 55 mile stretch of my route. I still had 40 miles to go, and there was no guarantee that I would find it, so I decided it would be a bad idea to try to go back and find it. Fortunately it wasn't my real wallet, just a small zip-lock bag with my ID, insurance card, credit card and about $50 in cash. Still it left me with no money, no way to pay for anything at all, which wasn't good since I was almost out of food and needed a place to stay. I had no cell phone signal to contact Carol, so there was really nothing I could do, so I just kept going.

Still I couldn't be upset for too long because the scenery was interesting such as this beautiful creek that I crossed full of water lilies and pickerel weed:

I stopped for lunch at Black Lake, a beautiful secluded camp ground. If I ever get the chance I'd love to go back there and camp for a weekend, it was just lovely.

With all the trees around, its easy to forget that the entire area had been clear-cut, probably multiple times over the years. Occasionally, you get a glimpse of some trees that somehow avoided the saw, at least recently. There white pines at the entrance to the Black Lake Campground I suspect date back to the CCC era when a lot of reforestation was done here:

These are only about 24" DBH, legend has it that the pines were feet in diameter back in the day, and that a grove or two still stands out there somewhere, untouched. If you look carefully at the rest of the woods, most trees are less than 12" in diameter, and most of the deciduous trees are multi-trunked, a sure sign that they are resprouting from a cut stump.

Shortly after this lunch break the road turned to pavement, which I was pleased to see since It had been such a long haul. This first stretch of Moose Lake Road was a class A awesome road ride, which I had my road bike (photo does not illustrate how nice and twisty and rolling this stretch was, but I was having too much fun riding to stop earlier):

And too my surprise the road stayed paved all the way into Hayward. As I got closer to town I started getting a cell signal, so I called Carol, and she being the wonderful supportive wife that she is booked me a hotel room and started making arrangements to get money wired to me.

On the last climb into town my cyclocomputer crapped out on me for the second time in two days. By this time I was exhausted. For the first time in the trip my legs were feeling it, the "heavy" lead-like feeling you get after a long hard ride. I really needed to know how much further I had to go! Fortunately I was getting cell reception, so I pasted in the address of the hotel Carol had booked for me into my Maps app. 3.7 miles. I could do that, just like riding downtown to the capitol.

All in all, I traveled about 95 miles on Tuesday. With the long stretches of gravel coming after 5 straight days of riding, it was my hardest day yet.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Roadside Wildflowers Pt 2: The central sands/transitional zone

I'm not exactly sure what to call the area between the driftless region and the north woods. The transitional zone isn't that wide, and I only skirted the central sands. But this area was relatively flat, it was definitely sandy in some places, and open and agricultural in others. In any event, still lots of great wildflowers on the side of these quite back-roads I am riding on, here's a selection.

Monarda puntata, lets call it spotted horsemint.

At the same spot I found western sunflower.

Platanthera psycodes, lesser purple fringed orchid. I came to a screeching halt to photograph this one, I need a little bike license plate "I B8K 4 ORCH1Ds"

butterfly milkweed, with monarch butterfly.

I'm blanking on this one at the moment, Polygala something... is there a botanist in the house. Considered pretty conservative back where I come from, grows like a roadside weed in places here! EDIT: the common name is field milkwort (Polygala sanguine)

Can anyone ID this rush? If I only knew a wetland botanist, sigh, they would know. EDIT: Wool Grass (no thanks to my wetland botanist friends)

I want to say this is grass pink orchid, but its growing in a wet roadside ditch, and blooming like a month and a half late. EDIT: It is indeed grass pink orchid.

northern blue flag iris

Water parsnip.

Lots more blue vervain.

Someone help me out on this one. I think its non-native and considered by some invasive... its not just tansy, is it? EDIT: Yes, its common tansy.

Spiraea tomentosa, meadowsweet. I noticed this was almost exclusively in wet sandy areas... the Spiraea alba could be found in a lot more places, often along the roadside, almost like a weed. For the record, I'm now convinced that spiraea should be planted as masses, I don't think they would make good specimen plants.

Epilobium angustifolium, sometimes called fire weed, sometimes called great willow herb.

Can anyone ID this roadside weed? Something in the legume family, about the size of alsike clover.

Black-eyed Susan has been a constant companion along the entire route.

If you see a big showy mass of yellow on the side of the road this time of year, its most likely sawtooth sunflower. EDIT: I realized later that sawtooth sunflower does not grow this far north. This is in-fact swamp sunflower (Helianthus giganteus).

Can anyone identify this thistle. Its definitely in the Circium genus, maybe its swamp thistle? EDIT: Definitely swamp thistle.

Honorable mention: a few cylendrical blazing star were starting to bloom, don't know how I missed them. Also, saw a couple awesome patches of marsh blazing star on Sunday morning, but I was too tired and hungry to photograph them, and then never saw anymore after breakfast. Perhaps my biggest regret of the trip overall.

Day 5: Bushwacking

I took a while getting going in the motel room in Thorp on Monday morning. Its amazing how many little things you need to do each day on a bike tour to get ready to roll. Once I was out the door, I needed to get some groceries. As I was walking in I ran into a "crazy" old man who talked about riding 65 MPH on a 3-speed. Riiiiiiggght. Did my shopping and then ran into him again on the way out, here he revealed more details about track riding and speed records that made me think he was legitimate.... I wonder what is story was then.

I had a quick breakfast of bagels and painfully sweet sugar cookies in the Veteran's Park before rolling out of town. I had to cover as much ground as possible, since I had figured out the night before that it was in fact 155 miles to Hayward from Thorp, not the 125 miles I had thought it was.

A tank, and behind it, a Vietnam-era armored fighting vehicle.

Beyond Thorp was agricultural land for about 20 miles, apparently settled by Polish immigrants after the forest had been cleared from the area. As open as the landscape was, it was hard to imagine what it was like when it was forest covered.

Can anyone explain to me why this tractor has metal treads instead of rubber tires?

By late morning I made it into a pieces of the Chequamegon National Forest. Here the route follows an ATV trail system, basically old-rutted out double track. With huge puddles from the recent rain and rough, rocky terrain, this was the first real test of my touring bike's off-road ability. And it did pretty well.

At this point I should mention the deer flies. They were pretty bad in this area, as they have been in most of the forested parts of the ride. They buzz around your head and body and are generally annoying. However, MOST of the time, they don't bite, occasionally one will bite me on black lycra colored parts (like my bike shorts or the back of my gloves) in general they just buzz around and don't do any harm. I kind of wonder if they are looking for an actual deer and when they realize I'm not a deer they leave me along. If you stop for 2-3 minutes, the swam eventually flies away. Curious.

The 2-track trail eventually ended in dirt road, which took me to Perkinstown, which was a lot less of a town than I thought, but the "P-town" Saloon had food, water and a toilet, so I was good to go.

From there it was a bit of a round-about trek through forest roads, which were pretty, but I have to think they were just a waste of time, as I could have easily cut out the loop and saved 5 or so miles. Saving time was on my mind at that moment since I had s tarted so late, and taken time for a sit-down lunch, I was looking to come up short on miles for the day.

The gravel forest road dumped me out on a highway, where I headed west on the route. After about 3 miles was turn north onto overgrown doubletrack. Really over grown. I checked the map, and it would add almost 10 miles to go around, so I tried to go for it. This was definitely one of those frogs in a pot of cool water that you warm up slowly situations. At first it was rutted but ridable. After a while I was pushing as much as I was riding. fortunately the light load on the front end of my bike make it easy to wheelie up over logs, because there were a LOT of them. At several points the trail was so flooded or log strewn, that it was easier to just bushwhack through the woods than to travel on the trail. Maybe that should have been a sign. Finally, the trail went onto lower ground and was just flooded and completely overgrown. I looked at the map, and it was another 1/2 miles of wetland, then a creek crossing, then the route didn't follow a trail at all for a couple hundred yards until it met a trail on the otehr side of the creek. And this creek could be anything from something I could step over, to a 6-foot deep, 30 foot-wide stream. So finally, at the point photoed below, I gave up and turned around:

After backtracking through the "trail" I had lost at least an hour of time. The best possible re-route had me going back east, past where I had met the highway, and further on around to a small county highway that went north. Eventually this highway met up with the route, but I decided to divert a little bit further east and head north into the town of Kennan. It was getting late, so I put my One Good Earbud on, played some tunes, put my head down and hammered.
As I got to this south side of town there was a park where I found a water pump. I started looking around and realized the park had everything I could want from a place to camp: water, a picnic table, toilets and trees to string up my hammock. There was no place really secluded where I wouldn't be seen, but the county highway was very low traffic, and the nearest houses were so far away that as long as I didn't produce too much light at night, I wouldn't be very visible. So I sat down and ate some bagels and junk-food for dinner while the daylight faded, and then put up my hammock.

Only made it 66 miles on Monday due to the late start and the bushwhacking fiasco, leaving me with about 95 miles I would have to cover on Tuesday.