Hopkins lake – Canada – Hopkins lake. 
12.7 miles.
2338ft up. 2338ft down.

So I’m having this weird thing. I don’t need to pee. But if I try and go, I pee. Not vast quantities but more than a trickle. My body isn’t telling me it wants to go. Weird.

Having got into my tent so early last night I was convinced I would have to get out in the middle of the night but no nothing. I tried my very best to stay awake until a reasonable time but I just couldn’t keep my eyes open and by 8pm I was sparko. I didn’t wake up and I don’t think I even moved until 1am. Then I was wide awake for a couple of hours. I read for a bit and tossed and turned and eventually went back into a light sleep until about 6:30am. I could still hear Catwater rustling around on her sleep mat so I knew she hadn’t got up yet.

The plan today was to leave out tents set up at the lake and slack pack to the monument and head back to the lake. All I carried was my food and my electronics. I didn’t want to come back and find my tent had been chewed through. Dan and Jackie had been up for hours and they set off first. I set off about 15 minutes later and I’m glad I didn’t leave it any later or I would have missed Meander coming up the trail. I met meander last year at Harts pass when he was giving out hot dogs and soda. I got a selfie with him and he says ‘oh my god, is that what I look like, I look ridiculous!’ Haha.

He is going to hike the PNT this year. A parting hug and he was off, meandering up the trail. He was out here because he had put a new log book in the monument at the border.

Along the trail it looked like things were brightening up. There was blue sky and some small patches of sun. But, the trail is quite overgrown and all the vegetation is wet so you get soaked as you brush up against it. At various points I was walking with my arms above my head to try and minimise the wetness. The trail is all downhill to Canada and apart from being overgrow it’s a nice trail. There were a lot of downed trees to climb under and over.

I soon caught up to Dan and Jackie. I was flying and enjoying the lightness of my pack and the downhill. I stopped to get some delicious pure mountain water to replace my lakey water. And continued to Canada. I saw Judith, a Kiwi, and an Aussie guy who used to live close to where I do in England.

By the time I reached the monument I was soaked! I was pleased to have a bit of alone time there. It felt weird being there again so soon. I thought I would never go there again let alone less than a year later! Last time I was here I knew I had only 9 more miles to go. This time I have the whole trail to walk. It’s a long way!

I did my little illegal journey into Canada. I was hoping to leave a little poop on the Canadian side but I had nothing ready. We hung around a while and did our photos. Then it was time to really start the SOBO journey. This is where it all really begins.

The sun came out and it got warm. I managed to hike in just my top for the first time, I actually got a bit sweaty. All the vegetation had pretty much dried out, but the same couldn’t be said for my shoes which were squelching.

I decided to count the blowdowns. But I would never have been able to keep count so I picked a small leaf every time I crossed one. My guess was 25.

3 miles in we stopped for a rest and some food. We met The Grateful Red on his way to the monument. He has a very impressive red hair / beard combo. Just as we packed up to get going back to the late it started to rain. Proper big wet drops.

It was still early and we would probably get back to Hopkins lake at about 2:30. I had a bit of an internal battle going on. I feel like I should be doing more miles than this and I could carry on another 5 miles easily. I have quite a tight schedule but I am having fun with these people. Do I want to head out and be on my own just for the sake of 5 miles? No. This thing is as much about the experience and the people as anything else. Plus I can make up the miles elsewhere. So I’m staying on their schedule for now. It won’t hurt to ‘ease’ myself back into it anyway.

A mile from the lake I picked up a couple of litres of mountain water so I didn’t have to drink from the lake. I was making the most of having a light pack and being able to carry more water.

We got back early as predicted and went to check on the stuff we left. Good job we didn’t leave any food, all of our things were fine apart from Catwater who had something chew through the mesh of her tent. Quite a big hole too. We are talking more rabbit size than mouse. Whatever it was they didn’t get anything and Catwater had stuff the repair her tent.

The bugs were out in force. What do you do to occupy yourself when it’s rainy and buggy? It was way too early to get in our tents so we decided that Dan should make a fire! There was an already well established fire ring and the ground is so wet that we weren’t worried about the tree roots burning. The difficult part was finding dry wood. But Dan did an amazing job and soon had a little fire going. We were hoping to smoke would keep away some of the bugs too. Unfortunately for Dan, as the fire got going the sun came out. So we deserted him and went to sit in a rock by the lake. The sun felt glorious and we soon dried out a bit. It was so nice to take off my shoes and give my poor wrinkled prune feet an airing.

The bugs were in a big cloud around us and we retreated back to the fire which was now toasty warm. We tried to dry out our socks and shoes a bit and I spent the rest of the afternoon stoking the fire. Disaster nearly struck when I tried to warm up my feet, I got my camp shoe a bit close and it started to smoke. Melted it a bit. Oops.

We all got our stoves and poured water on our freeze dried food for dinner. Our first dinner outside our tents! It was nice to be sociable. Much better than being camped on my own somewhere. Plenty of time for that later down the trail.

We retired to our tents at 7. I’m determined to stay awake longer this evening. I remembered the leaves and counted them in my tent. I had 46 leaves which means we had to scramble under or over trees 92 times!!


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