I got the guide free, because trails had a two week free trial and there were only three guides I wanted so I printed them and closed the account.
Things I've learned...
- I hike about half the speed of the people who make trail guides.
- I needed a liter of water per hour, so two in my hydration bag and the one bottle I started with wasn't enough. Either carry more water, or take shorter hikes.
- Bring a mesh filter and a rubber band for next time I have to fill my bottle out of a lake. Fortunately, I had iodine drops for emergencies.
- Night hiking isn't for me. The trail guide was a bit misleading of where the shelter was and being out of water, I really wanted to spend the night there. I yo-yoed a quarter mile of the trail three times and fell down twice before I decided that the swelling under my right knee really needed me to elevate my feet and I found a place to hang my hammock. In morning's light, I found the shelter farther down the trail. I also found my wallet and map that'd slipped out of my pocket when I fell down the second time -- banging my knee in exactly the same spot as the first time. Fortunately, I had iodine drops for emergencies.
- I need to keep my wallet in the inside pocket of my pack. Also a fluorescent yellow wallet would be a good idea.
- Need a better exit strategy. Got no cell phone service for the entire walk back or I'd have probably called a cab from the nearest road.
- Swarms of aggressive mosquitoes can make it hard to rest regularly. Even DEET isn't 100%.
- The Walmart CCF pad made a difference in the hammock. Stayed toasty warm.
The scenery was beautiful. Muddy Pond shelter was a kind of Shangra La, surrounded by hammock trees and with a good breeze keeping the bugs away. I took a dip in the lake and relaxed for a couple hours. Next time I will hike there from the nearest road and spend more time at the shelter.
I had extra shorts and a shirt in my pack that I didn't believe I needed. However, on the return, a thunderstorm deluge make me think I'd have wanted dry clothes if I had to spend another night outside. At least shorts to wear to bed. Also, I didn't take my flip-flops and I would really have liked those at the lake.
Muddy Pond Shelter