This morning we woke up to some cold Montana air, it feels like 40 degrees, so quickly threw on my fleece sweater and warm hat and walked toward to campfire. I walked around and gather a bunch of firewood. I found the tree trunk and large twigs burn so much better than bark or small twigs as the later causes crackling and excessive smoke. JD once again created magic by making this delicious hashbrown egg with spice all from dehydrated ingredients. JD has a pot with lid and a small canister of propane for the small stove, The flame was quite strong. JD even has an aluminum shield to surround the flame so the fire won't be extinguished by wind. I am just in awe about how compact everything is and yet enough to create such a delicious meal.
This morning, JD took us on a 4 mile day hike to Morning Star Lake with an optional 3 mile hike to Pitamakin Lake
. Our group has 7 people and ranges from age 20+ to 60's. Everyone is in good spirit for a nice hike. Lucinda and John are a great couple from Hawaii ; Matt is traveling with his mother Lori from Northern California; Sophie is doing her pre-law school trip with her mom Maggie. Since this is only a day hike, we didn't have to bring our heavy backpack, just water, so I brought along with me my hydration pack in the empty backpack. JD pointed out various plants and flowers all along the way on our hike. After a few ascends and few descends we arrived at Morning Star Lake. JD ALWAYS comes prepared, he once again created magic by producing a delicious lunch complete with Bagel, Jam,peanut butter, cream cheese and even cream cheese with cucumber and dill. Of course, he passed around the Gold fish crackers. Us fellow hikers are in smiles as we sat at lake side enjoying this yummy lunch. Since this the the wilderness, there are plenty of flying bugs like flies, yellow jackets. It was interesting to hear from JD that the bug that resembles yellow jackets are actually flies. Sophie was not a fan of all the bugs swamming around us, so she stood a good distance to avoid them bugs.
After lunch, JD asked if anyone is interested in hiking up to Pitamakin Lake, but only 2 of us agreed to go. This stretch of hike to Pitamakin Lake is about 3 miles straight uphill or 6 miles round trip
. Since there is only 3 of us, Sophie, JD and I, we walked a lot faster than normal. I started huffing and puffing a bit probably due to altitude sickness, but we managed to arrive at Pitamakin Lake in 1 hour. The Lake was so beautiful and clear that one can see the bottom. I touched the lake water,burrrr, its freezing cold. Just as I aimed my camera at the lake to shoot some wide angle photos, I saw JD jumped into the lake and swam a few meters !!!!! Sophie followed behind and walked into the lake. The lake water is coming straight from the melted snow, but there is still risk in drinking that water due toossible Giardia infection. That is why everytime we need water, we either have to use a water filter pump or the gravity filter or chlorine tablets. We then left the lake and head back to Morning star lake to meet rest of the hikers. Along the way we saw the imprints where grizzlies dug up bear lily for lunch.
We then hiked about 4 miles back to camp, mostly leveled ground with some down hills. Again when we approached camp, the pesky mosquitos started buzzing again, Matt was so irritated by them so he took off and ran back to tent. I got busy with some of the other hikers collecting firewood for the night.
When we got back to camp, I was so tired that I have decided to take a quick nap in my tent. It is not until 630 pm, John came over and woke me up for dinner
. Since I ddidn't bring my coffee mug, I borrowed one of JD's bowl for warm apple cider. Tonight we have 4 other hikers joining us at camp, They are 2 boy scouts accompanied by their fathers in the wilderness. The boyscout fathers spend quite a bit of time and effort preparing their sons for this big trip so they can earn merit badges. After we heard the whole story from the boyscout fathers, Lori turned to JD and said "do we get our badges too?" Jd just smiled and continued wipping up yet another magically delicious meal. Tonight JD made us chowder with croutons and cheese with a side of quesadillas. Despite the campfire burning with smoke, the mosquitos continued to swam everyone. They burrowed underneath my hat and bit me. Matt and I were grasping every mosquito that flew in front of us and killing them. Anyways we both got bitten all over. After our dinner, JD even prepared us chocolate pudding as dessert, made of pudding mix, water and powdered milk, so good. After cleaning the dishes and tooth brushing, I spend a few minutes enjoying the beautiful stars prior to hitting the sack.