It rained off and on all night and was very cloudy first thing in the morning. At 7:30 it was still not light in my campsite. Most of the wind was gone and the surf from Rainbow Cove no longer was so loud.
I had stayed in the tent so many hours with all the rain that my back was stiff and hurting and I felt pretty grubby from sweating during my sleep. I thought that I figured out what made my left foot so sore, too. Leather stretches when wet and I had adjusted my shoes multiple times as they had stretched and shrunk with all the cycles of wet and dry. The very last section of lacing was somehow in a bind and not sliding through the eyelets. Visibly it didn’t look out of place but it was super tight and not moving. I got it broke loose and relaced that shoe entirely and that felt like it might be fitting better. My foot was so sore at this point that it was hard to tell. EVERYTHING hurt my foot. Standing. Sitting. Propped up. Walking. All hurt. This would pass with time I hoped.
My planned destination was Washington Creek, a campsite right near the Windigo ranger sration and dock. I had a mail drop at the station with the food for the rest of my time on the isle – or so I hoped. I had been worrying a bit about it for several days as I traveled to the west end of the park. As of this morning I had six full meals worth of food on me. That meant I could eat normally for 2 days. Or I could skip 1 meal daily and go 3 days on that food. OR I could, if necessary, eat 1 meal a day for 6 days. I felt that if my mail drop wasn’t there that I could be back at Rock Harbor in 3 or 4 days easily. Or I could pay the boat at Windigo to ferry me to Rock Harbor. Or possibly even get them to bring me food to Windigo if I waited an extra day for them to do so. Yeah, I had spent some time thinking about the possible scenarios.
This wet morning I didn’t sit around wondering; I packed up and got on the trail. Then it started raining again. Oh well. I could deal – only 8.8 miles to Windigo. The rain was over by 10:00 but the damage was done. Every plant leaning into the trail was saturated and shortly I was soaked from mid thigh downwards.
When I arrived at Windigo I was mildly surprised to discover that the dockside ranger office there is much larger and nicer than the one at Copper Harbor. There were around 40 people hanging out in the dock area and the Voyageur II was docked.
I stopped in and asked the ranger if there was a package for me. She checked in back and came up empty. Nothing. Nada. Zilch.
Ruh Roh, Raggy!
I explained that I was a day ahead of my planned arrival date and she suggested that I check with the boat captain as they often had packages in possession prior to the drop dates and would sometimes have them on the boat a day early. Down to the dock I trotted. The boat was unattended; one of the guys hanging around told me that the captain had gone off with a ranger not long ago. I waited and chatted. I learned that there is a rental cabin on the west end of the isle; he and his wife had stayed there the night before and liked it.
The boat captain arrived back after a half hour or so. During this time I had settled down a good bit. I had 3 meals on me. I had already made up a day in my hike – I could afford to wait until tomorrow for my package if necessary and still be “on schedule.”
Unnecessary. There was exactly one package to be delivered on the boat and it was mine. Holy crap, this thing was heavy, too. What did I put in there, lead bars?
I tramped back uphill to the ranger station and went inside for more info. The laundry, concessions and showers on this end were closed for the season. Oh well. There was an outlet where I could recharge my electronics, right beside the door. I signed their logbook. I bought a bandana to serve as a kitchen rag. I filled out a wolf sighting report. I went outside and plugged up my Newtrent to charge.
The Newtrent (brand name, I forget the model #) is a 10,000 ma battery backup and a lifesaver for someone who would like to use electronics on a longer trip like this. I had completely recharged my phone 3 times off it and it was showing about half a charge still. Good thing. Not sure if it was the charging block or the usb cord but every few minutes the device would stop charging. I strongly suspect the cord since I was also having increasing difficulty getting my phone to charge. The cord would have to be wiggled and repositioned endlessly before charging occurred and then it might stop at any time. Frustrating, but it was a good way to keep me busy until I fell asleep at night. With the phone in airplane mode I could get 2.5 days of use taking pictures and reading. And this meant that the camera I was carrying had been kept packed safely away and dry during those rainy days. I only risked my phone that costs 2x the price of the camera. Illogical much?
I stayed at the ranger station for 3 hours charging devices. During this time I had lunch, chatted with an older couple who came by and camped up on the balcony with me (I had discovered a second entrance door with power outlet and no foot traffic and moved across to this side). I took their photo together and we talked about my trek. They gave me a Reese’s Nutrageous bar. Ambrosia! Soon after they departed for the boat I met a couple who were hiking together. We’d crossed paths a little. I had seen them at Island Mine and Siskiwit Bay but we hadn’t spoken. Turns out they had camped in the site beside me at Feldtmann as well. They were doing a 3 night loop on the west end (Siskiwit, Feldtmann, Huginnin) and had stopped in to check the weather forecast on their way to Huginnin after getting rained on while hiking along the Feldtmann ridge and all night (not in the forecast they had read). They thought the moose were partying in my campsite the night before, too.
While my devices charged I had eaten lunch, repacked my food bag and pack, cleaned all the mud from my shoes, semi-dried my socks by wringing them out and then wearing them sans shoes for an hour, and gone over my planned itinerary for the rest of the trip. The only change I instituted was that instead of staying at Washington Creek I would go to Huginnin Cove. I had also watched an eagle fishing in the bay for about 20 minutes. The trail along the shoreline was supposed to be very scenic (and the number of people around Windigo was starting to grate on me. Even after the boat left there were like 4 rangers and a maintenance guy around. Gah!). Surely Huginnin Cove would be more peaceful.
I headed out towards Huginnin Cove which was just 4.1 miles and an easy trek for someone who now knew he had enough food for the rest of his time on the island. With my feet dry(er) and the rest of my clothing dry it was a pretty pleasant little hike. The shoreline was gorgeous. You can see Canada quite clearly. The campsites were ok. There was just enough sparsity of trees to make the place feel a little bare. I took site #4 which was about 100 feet from the water and set up my gear. An older couple was in site #5 but I only saw them once, just as I arrived.
I zipped off my pant leg bottoms, scrubbed mud off them and hung them to dry before cooking Alpine Aire Santa Fe Black Beans and Rice for dinner. Really tasty; I had worried a bit about the rehydration of the black beans but no issues. Tasty and filling. Mmmm.
My left foot was still really sore despite the relief of the shoe adjustment. I took a couple of Advil before turning in and propped my clothes bag under my feet for a little elevation.