In between swatting mosquitoes, I drifted off to sleep in the early morning hours of my fifth night camping. An infuriating buzz in my ear canal would cause me to stir, but what completely woke me up was another round of thunder. The only precipitation I heard was left-over rain falling from the leaves, until I heard the now-familiar sound of a freight train coming towards me. Thunder rumbling meant another round of rain. Constant lightning flashing meant I could see my whole campsite like the light of day. Just as I predicted, the rain came next. Slow at first, the thunder gets louder, and the rain falling on my lightweight tarp gets louder, and in a matter of minutes, all I can hear is an indiscernible rush of wind and water dumping from the sky with so much volume, the individual raindrops all mash together. It was early in the morning, perhaps 2am, and I was wide awake, headlamp on, watching tiny droplets of water form directly above my eye, on the inside of my tarp, collecting into one big droplet of water, and dripping onto my eye or my preciously dry quilt. I picked a fantastic spot to sleep, because the falling water was draining to the side of me. I wondered how my pack was faring over on the picnic table. The only wetness was near my head as the heavy rain was still splashing mud towards me. The dirt a foot on either side of me was completely saturated, but I was dry. This second round of storms was brief, and a half hour later, all I heard was light sprinkles.
If I’d kept my bug net on, I’d actually be comfortable. Unfortunately, the mosquitoes were relentlessly biting me. It wouldn’t be so bad if the temperature was 10 degrees cooler, but I was sweltering in my quilt and it was a major struggle to decide what was less uncomfortable, the muggy heat inside my quilt or the cool but buggy open air. By the time I noticed light not from lightening, around 6am, I wasn’t sure if I’d slept for even one minute. As soon as I decided I had enough light to see my pack, I got up and started packing. My rain poncho held out all of the water and my pack was dry. Nice. I tried to snap a pick of my humble shelter before I ripped it down, and again shoved the wet items into the outer pocket.
I hadn’t started earlier than I did this day, and it was hard to see my first steps out of the Penn Creek campsite. I was sure happy to leave that bug infested zone, but wondered if it was going to rain on me all morning. The clouds alluded to rain, and a very foggy landscape as I continued south.
I was excited to bang out this sixth day. It was going to be tough walking, but after this day, it is a few days of really easy walking into Duluth. Only three more nights of camping. I was nervous that I’d have to deal with more mosquitoes from here on out. On the flip side, I yelled at the trail how it’s been too easy so far and to give me a real challenge! Bring on the rain, bring on the mosquitoes! I can take it.
Any overlook was shrouded with fog, so I put my head down and cruised through Silver Bay. The rocks were slick, and I made sure that I would not slip. That could truly be the last straw, so staying on my two feet was a high priority. When I came across a wooden bridge, I considered every single step.
I made it through Silver Bay in a breeze, and felt back in my groove of walking and drinking and eating. Walk, drink, eat, sleep. This whole trip is broken down into four simple functions. In order of importance: walk, drink, eat, and sleep. I ate my breakfast bars and had to consciously limit my intake of chews. I wanted to eat them all. I ate large chunks of my Clif Bar and realized that I was in a calorie deficit. If I’m hungry, it actually means I’m thirsty. That is what I told myself. I focused on drinking water, filled up at the Beaver River, and continued on my way. After walking across the big snowmobile bridge across the Beaver River, the sun peeked out of the clouds. I thought of Soundgarden’s “Black Hole Sun” and hoped this Black Hole Sun would wash away the rain.
I hadn’t hiked south from Beaver Bay to Gooseberry in years, and didn’t feel very familiar with the trail. It was technical and featured a lot of elevation gain. Luckily, I felt great. I didn’t adjust my pack for hours at a time, meaning that it was comfortable as is. My feet were holding up great, and my body as a whole was fit for another long day of hiking, despite the poor sleep the night before and busted, painful finger. I cruised towards Split Rock River and figured that I could stop for lunch right alongside that majestic flowing body of water.
Atop a ridgeline, looking out toward the intimidating Lake Superior, I spotted the Split Rock Lighthouse and figured I was close. The sun would break out of the clouds now and then and shine for a moment, and I hoped that I would be able to take my socks off in the sun while I ate lunch. It took much longer than anticipated to get to the trail alongside the Split Rock River.
I was checking my map and watch constantly, so excited to sit down and eat lunch. I made ground on two girls hiking. Passed them, and they stopped me to ask if they were going the right way to cross over the river. Yep, I told them it was a half mile ahead or so. I wanted to keep my distance, because I could tell that I smelled bad. Not that it matters, but I was really conscious about it in front of two cute college-aged girls. I finally got to a great rocky outcrop right on the river, and treated myself to a long lunch. I took off my socks, and just as I hoped, the sun came out in full force. It was hot! As I ate my beef sticks and chips, I checked the time, around 1pm. It was rough to put my nasty socks back on, put my sweaty and stinky shirt back on, and start back walking. But I did anyways, and felt depressed as I considered my next stop in about three hours. Pure walking until then…
I was about 6:20 in for the day, just more than 18 miles. That means I was down about a mile, or 20 minutes, from my 3 mph goal. If I hoofed it to Gooseberry, I figured I can make it up. There is a roadwalk section almost 3 miles, and if I hit 3.5 mph on that, a brisk walk for sure but doable, I’d be sitting pretty for the home stretch past Gooseberry. The afternoon was really shaping up, but hot. Split Rock is beautiful, but my content and tranquil attitude was quickly put to rest as I slipped once more, on a wet root sloping downwards. Luckily, I only suffered a muddy arm, but any jostle pained my broken pinkie from the day before quite a bit. I brushed myself off, put my head down, and worked.
As I hiked up and away from the Split Rock River, it started getting hot. I put my hat down to shield the sun, drank water to cool off, and suffered through the exposed yet beautiful ridgeline of Blueberry Hill. Any shade was so relieving, and I filled up my whole water bottle at a small creek near the Blueberry Hill campsite. Soon after, I entered the detour where a private landowner permanently closed the singletrack through the woods. It was actually well received, and I cranked down the hill towards Highway 61. I put on some music, and jammed out to the Soundgarden songs stuck in my head since the dreary morning.
I was jamming along the entire bike path detour until I got to Gooseberry Falls State Park. My feet hurt from walking on the pavement, but I sure did make good time. My shoulders and back were feeling good, and despite the sore and tired feet, I knew I had many more miles in ’em. The bigger challenge was telling my brain that I was OK to keep walking. With every bench, there was a strong urge to sit down for one second. But I did not. Before long, I got to Gooseberry Falls and started hiking up along the river. I stopped near a falls, close to the big bridge over the river, and it felt great to relax. From here, it was a big push along the Gooseberry, past Mike’s Rock to Crow Creek. This section had been frustratingly muddy a month before, but I mentally prepared myself for one last section for the day and hit it. A source of inspiration was to think about where I was at. Here I am, finishing up day six, past the crux, past two nights of terrible storms, and looking at a fantastically clear night. After today, it’s two days of easy walking and then the final day. My finger was still intact, I was feeling physically in-control, and really started to believe that this was going to happen. I was going to finish this thing up.
Along the Gooseberry River, I found a huge agate while filling up water. Neat. I hooked left away from the Gooseberry River, and it luckily was not too muddy or too buggy. Perfect. I was cranking along. Up to Mike’s Rock, back down, and the mud came on heavier. I tried to dodge the deep puddles.
Before long, I saw a few people set up with tents and bags and stoves, and walked in to the Crow Creek campsite to see a huge group set up with massive tarps and tents everywhere. I looked around for a campsite, but first filled up with water and backtracked to where I saw the stragglers set up. That looked better. I talked to a guy named Pete who just graduated college in Milwaukee and decided to take as much time as he needs to walk the whole Superior Hiking Trail. His only obligation was jury duty in October sometime. He started at County Road 301 and it was his first night on the trail after a 6 miler with a huge 50 pound pack. Been there, bro! I remembered my first day with terribly sore shoulders and thought about how strong I’d become since then, on my sixth day of hiking, and setting up my camp for the sixth time. I had to laugh as he pulled out carrots from his food stash. That has to be the least calorie dense food besides celery… I was truly envious of his luxurious five pound tent, though.
I set up my tarp, and it dried out immediately. I took the time to set up my bug net, too, cooked my food over the alcohol stove, and looked very forward to sleeping in the clear night. Unfortunately, I for some reason set my tarp up really close to another guy, Tim. I apologized for it, but he just said as long as I don’t snore, he doesn’t care. The only unfortunate part is that he snored! A really weird guy, he had been at this site for the past two nights and was fiddling around with his crap until dark. Tim then decided to sleep outside of his tent, not set up yet, and was snoring loudly! Loud enough to keep me awake. Did I hear him wrong? Either way, I was fatigued after my biggest mileage day thus far at over 35, and definitely fell asleep before long. Out cold. No bugs, a perfect temperature, it was exactly what I needed.
I woke up to rain in the middle of the night. By this fourth night, I found that an unobstructed night of sleep is not really realistic out in the woods. Each night, something stirring or a wind gust through the trees or a rock or root in my back would wake me up. This night, it was rain. I didn’t feel wet, so dozed back off to sleep.
By 3am, it was raining steadily. I checked the time, but didn’t bother to look around much more, so dozed off once more. By 6am, the rain was continuing to fall, and I could tell that the flaps of my quilt were sopping wet. I tried to tuck them under me, in hopes that I’d keep everything completely dry if on the sleeping pad. Similarly, I shuffled my pants, shirt, and any other trinkets laid out towards my body centered on the pad. Rain started seeping in from the bug net connectors directly above my face, trickling down the net and collecting into bigger and bigger droplets. The final drip would be right on my face or shoulders. A half hour of tossing and turning and worrying about my stuff getting wet, and I started to think about how I’d get out of here. My alarm hadn’t rang, but I started formulating a plan. It was raining very steadily and had been for hours. I knew now that it was very wet out. I sat up precariously, causing water from every angle to fall on me. It was light enough to see the scope of the situation. My clothes were getting really wet, by shoes were probably soaked, and my backpack was in a puddle. Water from the tarp had pooled directly under my pack, and it looked like it was actually displacing puddle water! Oh, no, I thought, everything is soaked! I tried to organize my precious quilt into a dry ball in the middle of my pad as I shuffled around, careful to not get any wetter than I had to. I picked up my pack, dripping water onto my quilt, and started to panic a bit. Not good, not good. I decided to whip out my emergency poncho, trying to get ready hunched under my claustrophobic tarp. I crawled out into the falling rain, put on my shirt, the poncho over it, and set my backpack under a tree in hopes the falling rain would not be able to saturate its contents. My shirt was dry enough, I was staying dry enough under the poncho, but everything else was getting wetter by the second. I grabbed my sopping wet pants, took out my 1-day old socks from the pockets and stood on one foot at a time to get them on my feet. My shoes were soaked. What a terrible feeling to put wet feet in wet socks, then into wet shoes.
I grabbed my yellow stuff sack, and shoved the quilt in from hunched under the tarp. Into the bag, I began frantically shoving stuff in. I was able to fit my pad in the pack instead of outside, where it’d been strapped the previous days. I hastily grabbed a few breakfast bars and whatever snacks I could fit in my shirt, and then quickly ripped down the tarp and shoved it in my pack’s back pocket, as not to saturate the internal pack items like food and the precious top quilt. I was packed up, very wet, and very frantic. Watch… start the watch and start hiking.
I saw Diane hunched under her cuben fiber tarp, starting to pack up to hike to her car at the Finland Rec Center. I hollered at her, sounding cheery enough, but my mental state was not cheery. What the fuck, that was bad preparation, I thought!! How is everything going to dry out? How did all that water pool under my pack? I felt the bottom of the pack, crested right above my butt, and it was completely wet. When can I put my pants back on? Am I going to get hypothermia here?? I luckily wasn’t cold…
As the rain came down, it dripped from the emergency poncho down to my bare legs and shoes. My boxers seemed dry enough, but I soaked my first pair of boxers in the creek just 12 hours prior, so if my second pair gets wet I’ll have two pairs of wet boxers. Great.
The soaking wet tarp and bugnet were being compressed to the bottom of the outer pocket and dripping down my back. From my waist down, I was very wet, besides the front of my pelvis, where I had one dry spot on my boxers. My precious dry spot. I knew that I’d have to stop at the Finland Rec Center to dry my things out and reassess my situation. Diane was driving back to the cities and her car is at Finland… If I reassess and everything is too wet, there is my cop-out…
I got to Sonju Lake and did not stop. Everything was wet–rocks, roots, bridges, dirt turning to mud–the walking demanded full focus in order to stay upright on my two soggy feet. I did not stop, but was thirsty. I’d be able to drink later, and maybe I’m getting hydration through osmosis via my feet. I don’t think it works like that. I saw a guy in matching top and bottom rain gear untangling his bear bag nearby the southern Sonju Lake campsite. I accidentally took the spur to his site, but saw the bench and fire ring and turned around.
Ok, only five or six miles to Finland, and then I can drink water and dry my stuff out and really reassess. I think there is an indoor bathroom there where I could lay everything out… If the bathroom is locked there is least some sort of roof. I ate a few breakfast bars and kept walking. Egge Lake came and went and I didn’t see any other people. It was still raining steadily. By now, 9;30am, over two hours and five miles in for the day, and it had been raining steadily for at least six hours. Terrible. I couldn’t shake the thought of how bad this situation was. Everything soaked, no order in my pack, just wet shit sharing its moisture with my precious dry items. What is even dry? My pack might as well have been submerged in Lake Superior! A thought that provided solace was Erin and Zach’s campfire stories from a few nights ago where they one time woke up to rain, hiked past Sonju and Egge Lakes in the rain, rain all day just like me, and had to set up camp in the rain that night. They made it, although Erin said it was terrible. It is terrible.
A few miles later, I bumped out from the woods to a brief roadwalk on County Road 7, which means I was very close to the .3 mile spur to the Finland Rec Center. The road was so wet and muddy, I was in my boxers like a lunatic, hiking in the pouring rain. A truck hauling a small boat sped by and I kept my head low. At the spur to the Rec Center, I kept walking. I’d been thinking for hours of getting to the Rec Center to reassess. I don’t need to reassess shit. I crossed the East Branch Baptism River once more and realized how thirsty I was. Not yet, though. It’s too hard to drink with the thin rain poncho on. I took a peek at the milepost sign and figured I’d right on track to eat lunch at Section 13. After that climb, I’d be through a very tough section in the rain, which is a great accomplishment. My mindset further improved when the rain tapered off. Not that the sun came out in a big way, but the constant downpour ceased. I put my plastic poncho hood down.
I kept hauling, past the empty Leskinen Creek Campsite, next stop Section 13. It’s pretty easy walking through this section, and I was happy to be making great time. I passed Park Hill Road, a huge glacial erratic, and onto the big Sawmill Bog. I still hadn’t changed out of the rain poncho, or really done anything besides walk, since waking up. I didn’t stope because the sky looked like it could rain again at any moment. The big Section 13 cliffs began to appear through the foggy swamps.
I was walking on boardwalk after boardwalk through the Sawmill Bog. My shoes were soaked and the wooden planks were completely saturated. A straight stretch and BOOM!, I slipped. My feet went left, my upper body went right. My right hand, still gripping the trekking pole, hit the soft mossy bog first, and I landed on my butt in the wetness. I saw it out of the corner of my eye first, then slowly lifted my right hand up, palm down, to see my pinkie finger at an extremely grotesque angle. Oh, no, I thought. No pain, but my pinkie was fucked up. From the main joint, it was bent to the right, and then again to the left, like a zig zag. Completely askew. So askew. My first inclination was to set it straight. I put my palms together as if I was clapping, bent my left fingers around the outside of my busted right hand, around my pinkie finger, and then in one swift movement slid my left hand upwards to form my pinkie back straight. It made a sound like ripping a chicken wing apart, the sound of cartilage and joints shifting under my skin. I expected extreme pain and screamed. It wasn’t as bad as I figured, and knew I had to get to Section 13 to figure this injury out. I stood up, held my trekking poles in my left hand and made my way through Sawmill Bog very carefully. I was intensely angry at the bridges for making me slip and fall. Fuckin’ bridge. Only a few steps later, I got to a trail register. I wanted to write my mantra of the moment that I was saying to myself: “Hike, Drink, Eat, Sleep”, but when I grabbed the pencil, my right hand was not working well and I could only shakily muster one word, barely legible:
Once I started back hiking, the pain multiplied. I saw with my own two eyes my hand swell, and my pinkie was still pinning off from my other fingers. Not good. What the hell am I doing out here? Is this the end? How will this effect my hike? Am I risking permanent damage? I hadn’t felt confident about finishing the trip all day. But I was still hiking. Up, up and up to Section 13. I stepped off the trail to let a group of 10 kids backpacking pass. Rain poncho, tall socks, no pants on, broken finger in extreme pain, but I smiled at them.
When I reached the Section 13 campsite, I took my backpack off and noticed that my lower back was soaked but my chest was pretty dry. My finger did not feel good, was swollen and beginning to bruise. I grabbed my phone for the first time of the day, and looked at the positive side of things: it was not raining anymore. I found a perfectly shaped piece of wood and a bungee cord near the fire ring. I took off my belt made of grosgrain ribbon and wrapped the wooden shim around my pinkie and ring fingers, trying my best to secure it with the belt. I ate lunch, and posted my grievances to the world of Facebook. I took a selfie with my normal face, and then my “if it’s not positive, it’s negative” face.
Luckily, the forecast was looking good for the rest of the day, and I’d likely be able to dry myself out. I took off the poncho, put my pants on and used the bungee as a belt. Then, I set back off. I took care of this injury and I can still walk.
Section 13 is awesome. The views are incredible, and I made up for not taking pictures at all while it was raining by snapping a few. I screamed off one big outcropping: “FUCKKKKKKKKK!!!!”
Down, down, down, and I filled up my water bottle in a creek before the County Road 6 trailhead. Removing my backpack was much more challenging with a bum finger, and any jostling sent shockwaves of pain through my pinkie. I saw the parking lot ahead, a welcome sight, and some guy fiddling around with a stick. What is that guy doing, I wondered. Then, he turned towards me and yelped in surprise. It was my running buddy Paul Wilken, getting a lay of the land for his pacing duties for the upcoming Superior Fall trail races, and he was sketching a note in the ground “Get Some Mike”. We just so happened to meet at the right place and right time, and chatted for a bit. I immediately complained about my struggles and told him I didn’t even know why I was out here doing this stupid thing. So much discomfort. He said that when he’s out west climbing mountains, he says the same thing to himself. But you just do it anyways. I wished him goodbye and kept hiking. Onto County Road 6, across the road and up, up, up. I was able to pole with both hands, but my right hand was very tender. I couldn’t jam the pole into the ground as it would jolt my hand and finger too much. The climb was worth it for the spectacular views of Section 13, and I thought about how I missed my chance to ride back with Paul. I should have asked Paul to drive me home.
I was trucking through the trees, along the ridgeline past Sawmill Dome and towards Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center. The dark rain clouds were clearing out slowly but surely, and I talked to a few backpackers heading north. They were definitely chatty, and I was a little too bitter with my circumstances to have a good conversation. Luckily, my legs were feeling great, and I hadn’t even adjusted my pack all day because it was riding relatively comfortably. I started to feel the hours of relentless forward progress catch up, and decided to sit down for a second. I felt a bit unsure of what to do so called my dad. I told him all that happened, and he seemed concerned that my finger would get infected. Well, it didn’t break the skin, I told him. He didn’t tell me what to do one way or another, but as I spoke, the sun came out. I said that was a sign to continue on and hung up. I peeked at the weather while I had my cellular on, and the forecast called for more overnight thunderstorms. Not rain, thunderstorms. For now, though, the sun was coming out and I pushed forward onto the hardest section of the trail. Up and down, up and down, broken pinkie, there is no way it’s not broken. This is the crux, though!
I was making good time through Wolf Ridge ELC, and the walking and sunshine dried out my shirt and pants completely. I saw a couple of backpackers finishing up their last day, and filled up water with them at Kennedy Creek. I made a point to drink as much as possible to refill from my dehydrated morning. It was sunny by now, and the overlooks getting into Tettegouche were spectacular. My legs and feet felt the most fresh since the very first few hours of hiking four days earlier. This was perhaps because my pain sensors were maxed out on my pinkie, which was throbbing. The belt wrap didn’t work great, and I had to re-wrap it several times throughout the day.
By the time I hit High Falls, I was about nine hours in for the day, but just 24 miles. That means I was a full hour off of my 3mph pace. It was almost 4pm and I started thinking about my afternoon break. I stopped on the outskirts of Tettegouche State Park, and then prepared myself for the hard push past Bear and Bean Lakes to my campsite at Penn Creek.
I saw a girl meditating on an overlook, perhaps Mount Trudee, and I interrupted her by yelling off of the cliff for a spectacular echo. I smelled so bad and probably looked terrible, but it was fine. I kept trucking, and was in good spirits.
Down to Palisade Creek and it started getting really muddy. I saw a couple guys camping and getting water from Palisade, and they said they didn’t see anyone at Penn Creek. I kept pushing, looking forward to Bear Lake. I still was doing fine, fatigue-wise, and figured that I was getting trail strong. A huge question going into this trip was whether I would get “trail strong” or experience a slow deterioration. The next day would be a better test, but day five was going great given the circumstances. My finger still hurt, and I would jostle it every now and again, wincing and yelling in pain. My mantra was “silent suffering”, a term I learned from my running buddy Nick Nygaard. When we’d do workouts, I’d always be grunting and groaning, and he told me about “silent suffering”, especially in a race scenario to strike fear in the other competitors. I was laughing by repeatedly yelling “SILENT SUFFERING! SILENT SUFFERING!”, which is the exact opposite ideology of the mantra, but hilarious.
More mud, up and up and I knew I was close to Bear Lake. Right around the bend…. and more climbing. Ok, right around this curve and… no Bear Lake, just more uphill. I was breathing hard and had sweat through my shirt five times through. Finally, as the afternoon sun dipped low and the evening set in, I came out to the spectacular overlook of Bear and Bean Lake. I had to bellow “EVENIN'” across the two lakes, and booted up my cellular network as I rounded the two high cliffs overlooking the tranquil lakes below. Down and up to Bean Lake, and I was really excited to get to camp, although nervous that I’d not get my things dried out for the night. Based on the forecast, it was certainly going to thunderstorm overnight, but I knew exactly what I had to do to stay dry. I took some pictures, went on social media, and was descending from the lakes in no time. It was getting dark.
I got to the Penn Creek campsite after a long day. It was a gritty day. I felt pretty proud for sticking it out and crushing the two crux days. There were challenges, but I stayed gritty, kept my head down and powered through. No time to relish in the accomplishment, though, no time to rest. I immediately went to work. It was getting dark and I had to make SURE that I was set up to avoid another wet disaster like the night before. The mosquitoes were out, and I got more bites in five minutes than the previous four days on the trail. I considered ditching the unsupported style and hiking into in Silver Bay, but reserved that for an emergency, knowing that it’d be just a few hours of walking to complete dryness at a motel. I set everything out, and was very happy to see my quilt relatively dry. My tarp was sopping wet, but set it up and it dried out enough. I made a strong point of finding a piece of ground that was not in a trough. Even the smallest depression is enough to collect water, and I spent the time to consider every option for where to sleep. The bug net was soaked, and I took it off of the tarp, despite the bugs swarming me. It was too wet, and had dripped on me in the heavy rain the previous night. I’d rather be buggy than wet.
I tried to get a small fire up to dry out, but everything was wet. It was a waste of time, and I was frustrated as the birch bark fizzled out. I used my alcohol stove to make dinner, and was luckily eating in no time. That was really nice. I wrapped my fingers together, happy to have athletic tape in my tiny first-aid kit. As darkness set it, I stuffed everything into my pack besides my headlamp, hat and emergency poncho. I set the backpack on the picnic table, shoved my shirt and pants on top, covered the whole pack with my poncho, and scurried to my tarp. As I laid down, mosquitoes buzzing in my ear, the campsite started to light up with lightning. No thunder, but constant flashing from high in the atmosphere. My eyes were wide open, fearing what the night would hold. I set my tarp up high, because the night before with my tarp low, water pooled on the sides.
An hour of staring at the tarp with constant flashing, and I heard rumbles come towards me like a freight train. Louder and louder, and then the rain started. Sprinkles at first, flashes illuminating the campsite, then a thunder rumble over my head and the rain started pelting down. A gust of wind brought a heavy downpour, and I stayed awake with my headlamp on, fully alert, bugs in my ears, trying to decide if I’d flood or not. I could tell that water was falling hard, and it was splashing behind me, spraying mud onto my snow-white hat. My head was probably full of dirt. The seams directly above my face were dripping water onto my face, but no flooding. The thunder waned and the rain tapered off. I was relieved, but hot. All I desired to do was stick my sweaty hot leg from the quilt. No, if the mosquitoes are biting my face and ears like this, they’d have a field day on my leg. Whatever, it’s unbearably muggy in this stupid sack. So I slipped my leg out, careful to keep my quilt on the dry sleeping pad, and felt the cool relief immediately. Just as fast, mosquitoes swarmed and started biting. It was going to be a long night.