Wednesday, 1 October 2014

3 September. Through Maligne Valley

In the morning I saw goodbye to the Swiss through-hiker.  He tells me again: you will be miserable.  What a prospect.

Turns out to be great.  The trail alternately leads through the forest and through meadows.  Sure, the meadows are somewhat overgrown, but it is still easy to follow the trail.  I've seen far worse trails in both Norway and Sweden, and even in Switzerland.  It's a sunny day and I don't get wet from the vegetation at all.  Where the trail leads through the forest it's even easier to follow, although there are some places where deadfall has blocked the trail.

Around lunch-time I reach the spot where the trail crosses Maligne River.  As warned by the Swiss hiker, the bridge is gone.  No problem, I will ford it.  I've seen worse.  Much worse.  I take out my sandals and my fording pole, and put my boots back in.  The size of the backpack — that has more volume than it ever had, due to the two bear proof food containers — makes this a challenge, but I finally figure it out.  Carefully I cross the gently flowing river.  It is approximately knee deep at deepest.  A serious ford but nothing problematic.

I eat my lunch on the other side and decide to try the satellite phone's calling function.  Until now I've sent one text message and one e-mail to Catherine, but we should have tested it before I departed.  We didn't.  I called her earlier to day but she didn't answer, so I try again now.  This time she answered.  Catherine is in France so I need to consider the 8 hour time difference between Jasper and Amiens.  She received my text message.  I did not receive hers, but it's OK.  It is great to hear her voice and to know my text message arrived.  I promise to send her another message tomorrow and hang up.

My plan to make todays hike less long than the hikes of the previous two days fails.  I considered to stop at the Mary Schäfer campground, but somehow manage to miss it completely.  The next campground is hours further.  There are plenty of meadows.  It is a great hike, not at all miserable as the Swiss hiker warned for.  He also said that, unless in emergencies, it's not possible to camp outside the campground.  I disagree, the meadows look great.

I stop at a meadow as nature calls.  As park regulations prescribe, I have a trowel to bury my poo.  I hike into the bushes, put my shovel into the ground, rotate the handle.  And now I'm holding only the handle.  So much for plastic.

Having a short hike going only to Mary Schäfer didn't work.  The next campground is marked in the guidebooks as Old Horse Campground.  I thought it would be an "ordinary" campground named Old Horse, but it is in fact very very limited in scope.  It's only 3 km to the next campground, Mary Vaux, so I decide to continue.  I'm very tired by now and promise myself not to make such long days anymore.  I got up at 7:00.  I finish hiking at 19:00.  And my backpack is still very, very heavy.

At Mary Vaux

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