The First Third
Walking the North South trail at Land between the Lakes is a life goal of mine. It is 59 miles in total. It is beautiful land that is wonderful for hiking and camping. As a child we camped there. It has always been a safe place for me. It is a place to go and recharge my spirit. As a child when we went camping at Piney (a campground at the bottom of LBL), it was the 3 weeks of a year that my family was neat, organized and Calm. This is not something that was usual. So a deep love for the area has grown in my heart. I also began taking my family there and we have made many great memories there. When I found out there was a marked trail to walk the whole LBL area I was so excited. We tried once before; we will refer to that as Hike 1.0.
This is the story of hike 2.0 Day 1.
At home we packed and planned for months to prepare for this. We waited for the weather to be at a peak of 80’s in the day and 50’s at night. We left Evansville at 7 in the morning. We arrived at the North welcome station a little after 9am. I went in to purchase our back country camping passes and bug spray for ticks. Here we found out that we are starting are hike in the middle of a random turkey hunting weekend. Thanks goodness for my pink hat! I am not a turkey!! As I paid for our stuff I was given a dollar bill with a huge chunk taken out of it. I should have given it back.
We filled all of our water containers and posed for our picture. My legs were shaking from the weight of the backpack.
At 9:41 am we were off! Right away we saw the white marker for the N/S trail. Now in a way this was our first oopsie. I had forgotten that we had decided to take the bike trail from the north station. It was actually about 2 miles longer on the actual N/S trail. It was also a much prettier walk. So it was okay. The trail leads you back to the lake and you walk along the edge. We had a moment of nervousness when we noticed the trail shift to where the lake was on our left side, it should always be to our right! We were actually going way uphill this was a switchback to get us higher. We just kept following the white markers. When you are on a trail like this that is really all you can do it follow the markers.
We arrived at Moss Creek picnic area.
Although in my picture it looks cloudy it really was a gorgeous day. We took off our packs which hurt our shoulders so badly. Pulled out our camp stove and made our lunch. We were off again. The terrain is very hilly so lots of switchbacks and ups and downs. Donnie really had a shift in attitude, he had been so encouraging. Now he was in pain and really frustrated. My shoulders were killing me as well so I also was frustrated. Push on is all you can do at this point. We came to a point where on Hike 1.0 we had gone off course, we stayed on course…this saved us about 2-3 miles! Where we had went before to try to get water was a bad idea!! Thankfully we stayed the course and got to Pisgah Point boat launch. This is where Donnie was ready to be done for the day! I was not! We pushed on. I was so happy when we got to the bridge that had been broken before and there was a new beautiful bridge for us to cross. Getting my butt and a 35lb pack over a muddy creek is not fun! We were walking through the mosquito infested area from 1.0 so I was spraying my Skin so Soft on me just in case. Thankfully they were no where near as bad. I kept saying “Ya though I walk through the valley of mosquitoes, I will fear no evil for my skin so soft is with me”
When we arrived at a large creek area we were really hurting from our heavy packs so we decided to lose some gear. We unpacked some clothes, water bottles, propane tank, and just some random things. We wrapped them into a rain poncho and slid them under the bridge. We knew we were near a road and decided we would recover gear later. The creek had pretty water in it this year. Last time it was dry and mosquito filled. As we walked on we came to an area where the trail had a ditch on both sides. It was very pretty, a dirt footpath with grass edges with beautiful purple flowers lining it. I was so relaxed I stopped watching the path held my head up and enjoyed the walk. That was when I heard it the rattling of leaves and the hissing of the snake at my feet! Oh I screamed so loud it was in striking position and hissing so loud! I screamed louder jumped and totally peed my pants! This is not a good thing on the first day of a long hike. We decided to sleep at the end of this trail right before Old Ferry Road. There is a beautiful field surrounded by woods that we set up camp for the night. So we cleaned up made our dinner and settled in early. Donnie is so quiet and tired he fell to sleep right away. I was so nervous hearing every little noise. The whippoorwills would keep me company for hours singing to one another. I listened to owls hoot back and forth. Finally Donnie woke up for a while. We heard a tremendous crash. We both jumped and looked at each other wide eyed thinking of the turkey hunters.It was a tree falling in the woods. We did here some hunting dogs in the distance and a few distant gun shots. None close to us though. I was glad we were in the field at that point. Very visible in our orange and gray tent. The stars and the moon were so bright. I loved looking at them. I could have watched them for hours. My body was so tired that I knew I needed sleep. I finally lay down and was able to get some sleep. And that was the end of day 1.
I have photos on my facebook.
I will get some on here later.