Miles Hiked: 8.6
Ending Location: Little Laurel Shelter
After listening to our fellow hikers’ experiences at the fire tower, Owl and I headed out for the day. Bad weather was forecasted to be rolling in so we set our sights on a nearby shelter rather than planning on camping out or striving for the next shelter 15 miles away. It was a fairly uneventful hiking experience with the exception of our water situation. Normally we start the day carrying three liters of water as that’s generally what we drink and it saves us the hassle and worry of finding water while on the move. We weren’t desperate enough to fill up at the shelter though as the water source there was just a muddy bog. This meant that Owl and I headed out with slightly less than one liter each. The next water we ran into was an oil covered drainage ditch on the side of the road. There was a river about .2 miles up the road though so Owl stayed with our packs while Vegemite and I lugged our bottles and water filters to it. The river was not glorious but at that point we didn’t have much of a choice so I filtered it into our bottles and then double treated them with iodine tablets. This was also where I learned the Australian word for diapers is “nappies”. As in “Ugg, let’s grab water further upstream as there’s dirty nappies all over the place.” As I said, not glorious.
We arrived at the shelter around 2:30 and proceeded to get settled in. We briefly considered pushing on to the next shelter but we knew it would be full and we didn’t want to spend the next four days with wet tenting gear. Of course that meant the weather improved and it turned into a beautiful evening and night so both of us were regretting our decision until 4:00am when it started pouring. I’m tempted to call this good decision weekend.
Oh we also saw a flying squirrel. There’s photographic evidence so we’re not crazy. The best explanation is someone let their pet go out here as none if us think they are native to this area. The world is a crazy place.
Edit: Turns out there are flying squirrels native to the area but they are critically endangered.