Day 2 began bright and early, I awoke before the sun and from some very vivid dreams... which is apparently something that happens at altitude.
Packed everything up, ate my leftover couscous for breakfast and started walking. About a half mile into my day, I came across one of the wonderful woodland creatures on the other side of the river.
I stood and watched this wonderful black bear munching away for 5 minutes, enjoying the scene and how beautiful this area near the stream was.
I finally let him know of my presence, not wanting to scare him as I walked further up the trail (and closer to him), with a nice shout of "Go Packers." and he looked at me for a moment and then promptly scurried off into the woods.
I continued my walk that day, my goal being to get up and over Red Peak Pass and camp near one of the tarns on the far side of the pass.
The miles went by quickly, as I went downhill from I stopped for an early lunch near where the trail crossed Ottoway Creek, a couple miles from Lower Ottoway Lake. By that time the sun was all the way up and the day started to get really, really hot.
My body was feeling great and I was ready to keep on keeping on. The trail this day was very well graded, and I hardly gave up any altitude as I walked, my legs felt great and I got to Lower Ottoway Lake by about 2PM.
I also bumped into a twosome, Aaron and Krystle, for the first time, and unbeknownst to me, I'd be seeing them every day for the rest of the hike.
Even though my body felt great, I was tired. I tossed down my sleeping pad (the benefit of not using an inflatable!), ate a second lunch (PB + Nutella on a tortilla) and took an hour nap in the shade. When I woke up, I made the decision to postpone Red Peak Pass until the next day, the scene at the lake was too beautiful to not enjoy it.
I walked around to the east side of the lake, found a perfect spot to set up camp, and decided to relax for the rest of the day.... I even went for a little swim and was surprised at how warm the lake was - I guess when you have a stagnant lake and no snowmelt flowing into it, it warms up, even at 9700 feet.
It was a beautiful evening and I decided to have a big dinner (shelf stable bacon and mashed potatoes) and relaxed while I watched the sunset.
It was an odd experience, as the sun set on my campsite early, but the sky stayed bright for an hour afterwards. Not something you experience in Wisconsin.
I crashed before the stars even came out, the difficulty sleeping at altitude was really starting to get to me.
I snapped awake a few hours later, the moon was so bright it was almost like daylight. It was beautiful, too bad my camera wasn't working (and my phone is terrible at low-light pictures) so I couldn't snap anything that actually turned out.
I went back to bed, crashed hard, and woke up just before sunrise (still living on Central Time, I think).
Read On: http://www.mkehiker.com/blog/day-3-lower-ottoway-lake-to-below-isberg-pass-11-miles
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Kid A is an avid hiker, backpacker and outdoors enthusiast located in Milwaukee