Friday, July 25, 2014

Day 46: Big Sandy Campground to Pipestone Lakes

We started our morning with an inadvertent side trip, traveling over a mile up the Big Sandy Lake trail before realizing that we were definitely heading in the wrong direction. By the time we got turned around and were back on track, we hiked an extra three miles and lost an hour of time. 

Despite our frustration at the wasted time, we enjoyed the incredible scenery that surrounded us. We passed through lush green meadows blanketed with thick clusters of wildflowers: deep purple lupine, bright yellow alpine sunflowers, lavender alpine daisies, fuzzy white bear grass, and many other varieties.  We also passed several beautiful lakes: Mirror Lake, Dad's Lake, Marms Lake, Bob's Lake, Sandpoint Lake, and several others. Rugged granite mountains towered over the meadows, and were reflected in the lakes' still waters. 

A pika chirped angrily as we passed, only disappearing from its rocky perch when we were well away from its home. But the animal most prevalent throughout the long day was the mosquito. Swarming our camp in both morning and evening, opportunistic mosquitoes also dove in whenever the air was still, especially near water. 

We forded a series of creeks, first stopping to change into Crocs to keep our shoes dry, a time consuming process. But when we realized how many fords would be required, we just waded in wearing our shoes and squished down the trail afterward, creek water squeezing out of our shoes with every step. 

We found a beautiful, sheltered camp overlooking Pipestone Lakes. Although most of the trees were squat and scrubby, we found a larger pine with living branches and hung our food using the PCT method. 

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