It's been raining for five or six days now and no relief in the forecast. I needed some woods time so donned the rubber boots, Filson's chaps, and hit the trail for some much required peace in the woods. Though our spring was late coming it is now here in full green regalia, nothing is blooming yet and it's nearly July! Our winter ran excessively long, the last of our snow didn't melt until late May and then storm after storm and unseasonably mild temperatures. None the less my legs needed moving and by bowarm needed action, stump thumpin was on the menu.
The State Bird of Minnesota, the mosquito, fly in formation as squadron after squadron attempt to penetrate whatever defenses you muster, between lemon eucalyptus and a Thermacell I attempt to hold them at bay. Those that brave the chemical wall find no joy as they attempt to get through my clothing. Doesn't help them or me, that I inadvertantly eat a few of them as I walk.
As I turned a corner in the trail one angry, wet, screaming grouse hen went ballistic. I could see her chicks dashing for cover to either side of the trail behind her but I lost sight of them as she went into full 'You Shall Not Pass' mode.
The clouds were in the trees though not as bad the the pea soup from the past couple days.
Absolutely everything is soaked, standing water everywhere, nothing is dry.
I wish I knew how old this paper birch is, it is one of the largest ones I've come across.
Today's trail companions, thermacell which emitted a skeeter wall all day, faithfully. One of my favorite bows, this one is a 68" 70# Leon Stewart, the stumps around here call it Foe Hammer. Bison Gear Lost River pack, and a mildly modified Fieldcraft knife.
I found myself close to last years deer camp so I stopped for lunch and a coffee, if I could get a fire going.
Kettle, knife, fire kit and an empty soup bowl egging me on.
Using one of the reflector logs I had put in place last year I swung it hard and busted it across the table top rock exposing the dry punky inner sections.
Popping the fire kit out, my plan was to get a small coal fire going inside the punk wood.
Using the tender from the fire kit I got a ember and blew it to flame inside the old chunk of wood.
As the water for a quick soup and coffee came to a boil our missing in action Sun broke the clouds and a dappled the forest floor emerged.
After lunch smoke from a hand made pipe, today's blend 'Ruins of Isengard'.
All in all a fine day to be out and about the backwoods regardless of the weather.