During the night I awoke with rain hitting my face. We were camping without the rain fly even though the weather on my GPS said 5% chance of rain. I quickly jumped outside and pulled the rain fly onto the tent. It rained for about 15 minutes and then stopped. When we woke up in the morning the rain fly was dry and it was as if it hadn’t rained at all.
Getting up we went about our normal morning routine of packing things up and heading to the food area. Once we had breakfast in our bellies we headed off down the trail for a short 5-mile day.
Once we were on the trail we noticed a black bear ahead of us going in the same direction as us. We talked loudly so it was aware of us, but it didn’t seem to care. The bear lazily sauntered down the trail, having a grand old time. We followed at a distance far enough away that we’d lose sight of the bear around each corner. We would cautiously approach the corner, but the bear would be well ahead of us. Every once in a while we see him look back and then run for a bit. We got to a point where the bear was down an incline from us when he stopped. We stopped too and looked ahead. My guess was that the bear had heard hikers coming from the other direction. We soon spotted them and shouted out a warning about the bear. They stopped and started to make noise. The bear looked at them and then at us before running off the trail into the woods. We slowly approached the point where he ran off the trailing making sure that he was gone. We chatted for a short bit with the other hikers before we continued on.
Down the trail, we spotted another bear in the woods near us. It looked to be a grizzly this time, but we weren’t close enough to tell and didn’t want to try to get close enough to tell. He got onto the trail behind us but thankfully went in the opposite direction.
A short while down the trail we crossed paths with an older gentleman who we had met the day before. He was a jolly fellow and was very social. He had an old JanSport external frame pack that must have been 20+ years old. He was having a grand time and was happy to chat with us again.
It wasn’t long before we reached our campsite for the night: Mokowanis Lake. It’s a small out-of-the-way campsite with two tent sites. We weren’t sure if we’d have it to ourselves or not. We hung up our food and set up our tent. The lake was beautiful and we could see some waterfalls in the distance.
We set out towards the waterfalls through thick brush. After hiking for a half mile or so we emerged at some tiny waterfalls, but we knew there were bigger ones in the distance. We hiked up past the first falls and the view opened up to the big falls in the distance with many smaller falls along the river in front of it. We hiked along the lower falls for a bit until the trail died. After taking things in we turned around and headed back to camp.
At camp, we met several hikers who were camping elsewhere but had come up to the lake to fish. We chatted for a bit before we jumped into the lake for a swim. After the swim, we hung out for a bit playing Uno and chatting before it was time for dinner. The mountains were so high near us that the sun was going to disappear a little bit before 5. Right around that time we cooked up our dinner, ate it, and cleaned up.
One thing to note about this campsite was the pit toilet. It was by far the best we’d had this trip: the smell was minimal, it was open air, had a decent view through the trees, and minimal flies. We approved.
We headed off to the tent after dinner to read our book and wind down for the evening. Tomorrow was a lot of uphill and it was looking to be quite hot.