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August 23, 2022, Day #6: No Permit? Take a Hike!

Or don’t take a hike. This morning we packed up and drove over to the Dempster Interpretive Center, believing that we’d be able to get a four day permit in for the Grizzly Camp, Grizzly Lake, Divide Lake, Talus Lake hike. The four separate treks were presumed to be “moderate” in their degree of difficulty with the hike to Divide Lake being “difficult” in degree of difficulty.

This morning, Tom and Olivia were very helpful and cordial, youthful, and had no qualms about giving us their undivided attention.

Ogilvie Mountains

We asked about getting a permit; Olivia disappeared into a back room and appeared with a computer – I knew that she knew that no permits were available, but she checked, just in case. Becky was near tears when she got this news. She’s right – having a permitting system isn’t really fair in that hikers have to prepare so far in advance to do a hike. Me, I was okay with doing the moderate hike to Grizzly Lake because, again, I was not for carrying a heavy pack all that ways.

We packed our day packs and took off – the bottom portion of the trail wound through wood – there were several differing kinds of mushrooms on the trailside. We next encountered brush and rocky terrain. After this is where the fun began. The climb got steeper, and more rocky. My hiking boots blew out in base of my big toes, so they were slipping around. As the trail grew steeper, Becky put more and more distance between us. I got discouraged.

We came to scree, and I noted that there was a rocky scree ahead of us. People continued to pass us, some in great shape, some not. I wavered and thought, you are carrying a day pack and this makes you a day hiker. A fellow wearing nothing but polka dotted running shorts and lightweight running shoes bounded past.

I decided (as I traversed the narrow ridge) that this hike is equivalent to my Mount Marathon. It has the same elevation, same scree, same steep downhills. Nope, I thought, I most likely won’t do the Seward, Alaska race.

It was difficult on my psyche, traveling with a mountain goat and in shape backpacker. I don’t think Becky will ever choose to backpack with me again, and I really don’t blame her.

The real question is, will I ever be in good shape again? I am at the point of no return. If I don’t do this now, I’ll never be able to do anything like this ever again.

I am well aware that had we done this multi-day backpack trek, that I would have been putting my life on the line. I just was not prepared for this. Had we gotten permits, I might have had to bow out. I suppose I could have camped and waited for Becky to take on this particular challenge.

It’s now raining hard. Had we gotten the permits, we’d be up there in the clouds and foul weather. Becky’s house sitters will be at her place until August 30th, so I suspect that we’ll be doing a few more day trips. Maybe the sun will shine brightly tomorrow.

Next: 231. 8/24/22: Day #7, My Own Mount Marathon

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