Location- Vermilion Valley Resort
Elevation- 7,694 ft
Distance Traveled Today- 6.2 + extra
Distance Traveled Total- 878.8
Weather/Temp- clear 70s
Injuries- mosquito bites
Pain level- low
Days without shower- 0
I got up at 5:30 am thinking I could beat the mosquitoes to the morning races, but I was wrong. They were already bright eyed and bushy tailed, waiting for me. I put on my long underwear and wind breaker for extra protection, quickly packed up, and hit the trail in a cloud of mosquitoes.
I powered up a thousand foot climb without stopping, then began a long descent towards the side trail that lead into VVR (Vermillion Valley Resort). Funny enough, there was some kind of wild chicken walking next to the trail, and it didn’t spook as I walked by. I had this instinctive urge to club it with my staff and pack it out with me, but my soft side prevailed; I really wasn’t in desperate need of food, but it would have been very cool to have wild fowl for dinner on trail.
Once I was almost to the bottom of the long, switch-backing descent, I encountered three middle aged men hiking up. I stepped to the side of the trail to give them the “right of way” (as is customary. Uphill always gets the right of way). “Good morning,” I said cheerily to all of them. Not a one said anything back. Nothing chaps my ass more than people not being friendly or cordial while out on a beautiful day in the woods. What are the chances that out of three adults, none of them felt like being polite?
Well, as my flippant sense of humor sometimes gets pretty restless out here, it took over the situation; and that flippant humor likes nothing more than a good mind game.
As the final gentleman passed me without a word or a nod, I called out with exasperation, “Phew, that’s one hell of a climb you fellas got ahead of you!” The last gentleman in line turned around and sarcastically sneered “Gee thanks.” “It’s a gorgeous day for a hike, enjoy it.” I cheerily replied. No response. As they began to round the next switchback, I followed up with, “There’s a wild chicken not too far up, sitting on the side of the trail; easy catch if you boys are looking to eat good tonight.” The first guy turned back and said incredulously, “This is a national forest!” “You don’t like chicken?” I replied. The man shook his head, and the posse continued their depressing slog.
There’s no room to be uptight in the woods. Whenever you encounter someone out here, it’s safe to assume that you both have at least ONE thing in common…the love of the outdoors.
I finished the more than 6 miles, plus a mile and a half of side trail, just after 8 am; ending up at the shore of Lake Edison, where a scheduled ferry boat would whisk me another 4 miles across the lake to VVR.
The ferry boat (John boat) was on time, around 9 am, and me and two other hikers (Shaggy and Moose) caught it into VVR.
I’ve spent the day packing up my snacks, relaxing, ordering food from their short order grill, and getting word out to my family that I’m alive. I thought I’d be able to get in and get out, but the atmosphere and the food are too much. I’ve been hurting for some relaxation and real food for well over a week, so I’m calling it a short day, and resting up. I’ll try and make up for it tomorrow…