July 8th chilkoot trail - bare loon lake ...

Trip Start Jul 06, 1999
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Trip End Jul 11, 1999


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Flag of Canada  , British Columbia,
Saturday, July 10, 1999

July 8th, Chilkoot Trail - Bare Loon Lake Camp

Man-oh-man, it was a truly glorious day today. Our incredible luck with the weather is still
holding and it was sunny with a nice cool breeze at our backs to help us along. Our original plan had been to hike only as far as Lindeman City but we decided to press on to Bare Loon Lake Camp for two reasons: we hadn't been aware of the existence of Bare Loon Lake as an option when we originally planned our route and made our reservations in January, and, until we were actually in Skaguay picking up the tickets we had been unaware that the train which was to return us to our destination ran only at 8:45 am and four hours later at 12:45. In other words, if we didn't make it to the train depot at Bennett Lake by 12:45, we'd have to camp and wait until the next day and that would seriously throw our schedule off. Since we figured we'd rather make the 3 mile difference between the camps today rather than get up that much earlier and have fear of missing the train spoiling our the hike in favour of speed tomorrow, we both decided that Bare Loon was the way to go. This meant an 8.5 mile hike today instead of the leisurely 5.5 miles we'd originally planned on dawdling along, but that left only a measly 4 miles the next morning.

The hike was beautiful. We stayed above the treeline all the way to Lindeman City and, except for one wrong turn which, fortunately, eventually rejoined the trial, the descent was gradual and the hiking easy - especially when compared with yesterday. We saw a few more artifacts which included an old boat shell at the end of Deep Lake and had bones (probably horse) and a decrepit gold pan clutched in its rusty ribs. After we descended once again into trees the trail wound through very dry terrain and we had been warned that we should be extra-cautious when it came to cooking because there was an extreme forest fire hazard warning in effect. We made it all the way to Lindeman City before we stopped for lunch. Unfortunately, by this time I was afraid to look at my feet which hadn't had any chance to heal since blistering yesterday. I guess you could say both the trail (literally) and my feet (figuratively) went downhill today. I wish I'd broken in my boots as thoroughly as I'd tried to break in my leg muscles prior to the trip. I guess walking around town or even on the treadmill with both my pack and boots on just doesn't compare to hard-core hiking. I'd brought a hiking stick with me thinking it might help ease the effects of using my knees as shock-absorbers when going downhill. Instead, I think it came in more handy to take some weight off my feet, though this was certainly more the case when going downhill as I'd envisioned. I think it helped keep my feet from sliding forward and ramming my blistered toes into the ends of my boots. Before anyone emails me helpful hints about this though... my boots were certainly tied tight enough - or at least as tight as I could tie them - and next time I tackle a hike like this I will wear two pairs of socks or get insoles for my boots so my feet don't slide around as much. I will also stock up of blister pads and moleskin (kind of like a flexible bandage but one side is completely covered with adhesive) before I go.

By the time I hobbled with my staff "like a leper" (I was later compared to) into camp, I was
drawing helpful hikers falling all over themselves to offer advice and blister strips. It seems that I am among a multitude of blister experts which is natural enough I suppose when you take into account that they are all fairly experienced hikers here as no one takes on this trail for their first hike. Even I have hiked the White Mountains in New Hampshire several times in years past. We got in at 5:30, threw up the tent and I tossed my Thermarest inside and dove in with a book to put my sore, puffy feet up.

After an hour of relaxing we made dinner and chatted with our fellow hikers for awhile. One
friendly hiker even pointed me out to her companions as they passed as "the one with the blisters I was telling you about". It was she that gave me that colourful "leper" description I mentioned. We also met a woman who was from Australia (Hi Nicki) and was doing the trail all by herself and instead of a tent had what she called a "bivvy bag" which is basically a waterproof bag which a sleeping bag slips inside and has a small tent-like screened projection over the head. It seemed very practical and light though I could see a few drawbacks such as there's no easy way to manoeuvre around in it to change in privacy and I don't think it would be as pleasant to use in the rain. In return for some of her extra raisins we selflessly consumed to lighten her load :), we gave her some of our extra fuel we knew by then we wouldn't need.

After retiring to the tent which we'd pitched on a beautiful site overlooking the lake, I took
advantage of the extra daylight (now that we'd entered Canada and the time had shifted ahead an hour it was light until after midnight) to read my book for awhile and am now writing this. It's a little too noisy to sleep right now anyway as there is a large group of teenagers from Detroit (18 of them plus their supervisors) who are too excited about their last night on the trail together to settle down. Tomorrow we are planning to rise at 6:00 am in order to be on the trail by 7:00. This was a compromise and the result of a hard-fought battle between my father and I with him worried about missing the train and wanting to rise at 5:00 am and myself maintaining that 5 hours to hike 4 miles (which didn't look difficult or steep on the map) was way more than adequate. I am confident that I will prove correct...
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