Day 2 – 7/5
I awoke to the sounds of hand-slapping. Tom and Noam, who had slept under the stars in just a sleeping bag, were being swarmed by the mosquitos as soon as the sun reappeared. Tom was struggling to keep them away from his face and slapping them if they landed. Noam somehow did not seem fazed by the mosquitos the entire trip. He kept slapping them but wound up with, in my estimate, hundreds of bites throughout the weekend. His arms were covered in bites later in the day to the point he looked like he had chicken pox.
I looked up at the mesh of my tent to see almost a dozen mosquitos perched on the mesh, waiting for me to open the door and serve them a breakfast of A-positive. We got a fire going to ward off the majority of the insects and cook breakfast. We didn’t waste much time getting packed up as we were happy to depart the mosquito-infested campsite. We were also trying to make it to our destination of Long Lake early to ensure our mule delivery occurred at the correct location. We were about 30 minutes from our destination of Lower Long Lake when we came across our pack mule in the forest. Arieta, the pack mule, was accompanied by a few of the Pack Station folks on horses. They were heading back to the pack station as they had already delivered our gear we had dropped off the previous day. What a luxury!
We stumbled upon our pile of gear/beer about 30 minutes later and searched for a suitable campsite. There was no shortage of possibilities. We spents a solid hour looking for “the spot” but we ultimately settled on a spot up the hill with a large area for a “living room” and fire pit. It was also a bit more windy, which was great for keeping the mosquitos away. Our campsite appeared to be in our own private valley. We saw one other campsite set up in the area, but otherwise we were completely isolated from everything. I heard no noise, no airplanes, no trains, no highways, no people or pets; true nature.
For the remainder of the day we each ventured out semi-independly to satisfy our personal goals: swimming, photography, exploring, etc. I mostly took it easy recovering as I was still feeling the altitude.
Once it started getting dark we all proceeded to take brief occupations as lumberjacks and gather a massive amount of firewood. We would later build the largest campfire I have ever been a part of. Even with our efforts to gather a seemingly unlimited supply of firewood, we eventually ran low. In lieu of cutting more wood in the dark, we would combine our efforts to drag an entire dead tree up the granite hill and throw it over the fire. This was sufficient to last the night (and most of the next night).