I wake up with a headache. I also wake up to mist floating just above the surface of the lake — it’s beautiful. I take an ibuprofen for the headache and make breakfast just outside my tent with my sleeping bag still draped over my lap.
I pack up and hike through the forest. There’s not much to say about hiking through the forest that I haven’t already said a hundred times on this blog. There are so many ponds and lakes that I stop pausing to take photos of them, pretty though they are. They all look more or less the same.
Eventually I emerge from the forest into ex-forest — a recovering burn. It’s the middle of the day, and it’s hot out — this too is more of the same. Putting it like that makes it sound like I’m not enjoying it! I am, though, and also I am not. I am capable of these continuous twenty-plus-mile days, but I also wish I could give myself a break — but I also want to get to Shelter Cove as soon as possible so I can go home. But… I’m also sad to be ending my trip. Hah! I contain multitudes. My feet hurt. Etc.
Soon after the end of the burn, I stumble across some trail magic — a 2016 thru-hiker and his parents. I gratefully sit down, drink a soda, and eat a whole bunch of potato chips and grapes. I’ve been hungry all day, but my remaining snacks have to last me all the way to Shelter Cove, and I’m starting to feel a tiny bit anxious about that.
Then it’s back into the woods. I walk and listen to podcasts. Eight more miles, and then I turn off trail down a quarter-mile spur to Bobby Lake, 24-and-change miles from Mac Lake, where I camped last night. There’s at least four tents nearby, but I find a spot to pitch mine. I watch the sky turn pink while I cook dinner. I rummage in my food bag. I’ll have plenty to eat tomorrow — it’s just that it’ll be the dregs of my food bag: all the stuff I’m really pretty sick of. I curl up in my sleeping bag and stay up too late reading MaddAddam.