Tuesday, March 27, 2012

NCT and MRP Day 2: Far From the Maddening Crowds Knoll

Today we hiked about 16.5 miles. We are camped at the Far From the Maddening Crowd Knoll. It has been a good though tireing day of hiking. The night passed uneventfully for us. It rained quite a bit after midnight but otherwise nothing much remarkable happened Those of us not cursed to rise sometime around 04:30 slept in to about 07:00 but everyone was well and truly moving as dawn moved into morning. A cloudy damp morning greeted us. I suspect the temperature was in the mid 50s when we finally broke camp around 08:15. The inital hike through the rest of the Udell Hills isn't all that spectacular. It is nice trail and when the trees leaf out and wildflowers bloom I expect it is far prettier. After we left the Udell Hills we had a lengthy stretch of road walking to do - about 3 miles. But a good chunk of that road walk is one small roads that run through dense forest so it is actually quite nice. We found a little campsite set up for NCT hikers by a forest service worker who is also an NCT volunteer. Very posh campsite: a fire hearth, wood under shlter, a privvy (very low tech) and a water pump wer all present. There was a cabin too but it was locked so we could not tell what it was like except that it appeared quite old. What a nice thing for this landowner to do for NCT hikers. After a pleasant lunch at the High Bridge parking area (we saw a few people fishing and others who were probably fishing left hauling their boats out of the Manistee on the boat ramp) we returned to the trail under partly cloudy skies. By now i had warmed up considerably and the sun waas appearing now and then. That made the hike through the Leach (?) BayouYou get many fine views of the waterways as you stroll through forest or swampy lands. Its a bit hilly and so can be tiring but the section between High Bridge road and Dillinghast (?) Road is well worth a visit. I wish I could say that was true of the 3 miles after Dilling Road. Sure the forest is nice enough but the trail in this section definitely needs a lot of tender loving care. Blowdowns abound. However, we pushed on through and at about 19:15 (again) we settled down at our camspite. We visited the top of the Far From the Maddening Crowd Knoll in the hopes of finding enough flat spots for our four shelters but that hope was dashed when we reached the crest of the knoll. However, the walk was still worthwhile for the nice views to the south (I think) that we got even given the late hour and thoroughly overcast sky. We returned to the trail junction to set up camp. I think it will be a nice night even though I feel a bit sore right now especially in my shoulders and a bit in my thighs.
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