|Beginning portion of the Neusiok Trail|
However, somewhere after mile 8, the mud began. I have no pictures of this. I didn't care to take a single damn picture of that mud or myself sinking in it. I'm talking black as night, thick as molasses, shoe-sucking, hiking-stick stealing mud. I traveled and periodically cursed my way through this for a good couple of miles. I wondered how I ever did hiking like this on the AT for states at a time. No matter my fashionable new Brooks Ravenna hiking sneakers and Smartwool PhD socks, just black clumps of mud down there for feet and splattered all the way up the backs of my thighs.
I was then flung from the mud on to this forest road. Oh sweet baby Jesus (to use a southernism), it was better than the mud, but this portion had the sun and a road that appeared to go into infinity. I poured sweat, at least cleaning some of the mud from my skin while the sun helped to bake and flake off the mud on my shoes. The wildflowers and river otter were a distant memory.
|One of the many boardwalks on the Neusiok Trail|
|My non-free-standing tent, rigged up with ropes found in the shelter - I pulled this off sometime around 2 am, after various other techniques failed to keep the mosquitoes at bay.|
So now well rested and enjoying a room here in Havelock...let me give you a lil' slideshow of the plant faces of the Neusiok Trail...
|Orange Milkwort (Polygala lutea), a member of the Milkwort Family. These enjoyed the bright sun along the edges of grassy trail.|
|Flowers of Inflated Bladderwort (Utricularia inflate)|
|Another Bladderwort - I had some trouble figuring exactly which species this was as Newcombs only lists so many and the identifying features seem to come down to width of its lower lip. It seems to me this is Flat-leaved Bladderwort (U. intermedia). What's unique about this Bladderwort is that it grew in the soil from just one thread of a stem, none of it's "leaves" visible. Turns out this plants feeds off of protozoa that swim in water-saturated soil. Makes sense, considering I found this little yellow face in the black wet soil along one of the boardwalks. I spotted only a handful few of these on the trail!|