Wednesday, March 02, 2016
Everyone in the hut went to bed soon after sunset yesterday, but one man started talking to his hiking partner in the dark about Europe and train fares. I laughed silently. Eventually a woman asked him to stop and he said ‘what? We’re going to sleep already?’. No, we were lying in the quiet darkness to mull over the terrible meaningless of our lives in the vast universe… oh, that was only me?
The day dawned with gorgeous weather and I left early. Not grappling with a tent saves a lot of time. The trail was mostly open with beautiful views.
I wanted to take a side trip to Lake Will, but mysteriously (since I was first to leave from our hut) ten backpacks were sitting at the junction when I arrived. Wanting some peace and quiet to enjoy Lake Will, I sat down to admire the view of Lake Holmes and wait.
I spotted a man lurking in a grove of trees nearby, looking at me. At first I thought he was worried that I would steal something from his pack, but later concluded that he was probably worried about being seen peeing. Anyway, Suspicious Guy soon emerged and wanted to trade some of the fudge in his trail mix for my chips. He was careful about not touching the chip bag or fudge. I think he had his hand in the trail mix bag before the exchange though… well, let’s ignore that. He said that he’s never seen a hiker with chips before. Hey, not only are chips delicious, but apparently they can get you fudge! He introduced himself as a tour guide and the people currently at Lake Will as his group. There was another guide too, so we’ll call Suspicious Guy ‘Tour Guide A’ (sorry). When I mentioned that I don’t like scrambling and was wary about ascending Mt. Ossa, an upcoming side trip, he said that it’s basically just a walk up the mountain.
The tour group left and I continued to Lake Will, which was an easy walk from the junction: 1.5 km over flat land. Following the advice of Tour Guide A, I walked further around the lake to a second beach that was larger and had clearer water than the first.
After a lunch of sorts, I returned to the main track and maintained a strolling pace the rest of the way to large Lake Windermere.
I soaked my feet before continuing to Windermere Hut, where I decided to pitch my tent. Rather than having dirt tent pads, the OT has wooden platforms to which you need to affix your tent with metal wires (as in today’s site) or metal chains, which are easier to use. The Belgians had arrived earlier and basically set up my tent for me, so I can’t describe in detail how the metal wires are adjusted. My theory: magic. I got a great site with a view of Barn Bluff.