Great Western Loop: Day 111 - 112: Polebridge to Eureka
Day 111: Thunderstorm and trench foot (37miles)
On day 111 I started following and old dirt road that had been closed for cars years ago. The road was quite overgrown, but hiking was easy and the sky clear blue.
Having pushed hard the day before had taken quite some elevation off of this day and so I made it to higher ground quite quickly. From Polebridge's elevation of 3,500ft I had now climbed back up to 7,200ft. The trail continued with a lot of smaller up's and down's and even allowed some views.
In the afternoon the weather changed and a thunderstorm approached quickly. I was still high up on the mountain and I could hear the storm coming closer by the minute. Heavy rain started and as the storm was right above me, I was looking at a very exposed ridgeline in a burn area just ahead of me.
I decided to shelter under some nearby trees until the storm had passed, before traversing open terrain. Luckily I didn't had to wait long.
The storm passed and I quickly moved on. Due to some minor foot pain, I had been wearing two socks on my right foot. Walking several hours with wet feet had now caused a quite significant "trench foot", with deep wrinkles and very soft and hurting skin. I had to step several times, trying to get my foot dry and to let it air out, as much as possible. Fortunately, the weather had improved and in the evening, I was experiencing a nice sunset at a lake near Mt. Wam.
Day 112: Heureka, Eureka! (27miles)
I got up early to push into town as fast as possible. Eureka would be my first resupply on the PNT and I desperately needed some time to study the trail ahead.
In the morning I quickly climbed up to Mt. Wam. Again, due to a long day before, I was able to cut the climb in half and had only 1,500 of a total of 3,000ft left. I stayed above 6,000ft for the next 15miles and enjoyed great views on a very nice hiking day with moderate temperatures.
(Above: Slept next to that lake the night before)
In the late afternoon I got rather excited, as I was approapproaching US/Canadian border. A fun milestone without further meaning. At that place, there was no official border crossing and due to Covid, the land border is closed anyways. Nevertheless, I paid attention to my GPS to NOT accidentally step on canadian soil, as that would have rendered my visa invalid and made me an illegal immigrant upon returning to the US.
(Zooming in, allows you to see a forest cutting, that marks the border)
From here on, I had to hike another 8miles on a dirt road, where I stayed for tye night. Temperatures by now had dramatically increased and reached some high 90's (35-38 Degrees Celsius), with limited water sources available. Later that day I learned that the temperatures had lead to a new fire just west of Polebridge.