I finally make it to Willow Ridge Spring, which means that I'm close to the top and the hardest part is over. Sort of.
I'm almost out of water, though I didn't expect to run out before Mississippi Lake. But I've been drinking constantly (6-8 litres) due to the hot weather (around 90 degrees F). I get out my water filter and replenish my reserves from the Willow Ridge Spring tub.
Willow Ridge Spring is not flowing right now, but the tub is still full. There's a fair amount of algae floating in the water, which sticks to my filter, but the water tastes pretty good after filtering. Better yet, it's cooler than the almost-sickening warm water I've been drinking the past few hours.
At this point, I'm far beyond exhausted. Too tired to continue, but I'll continue anyway. The batteries in my camera have worn out and I'm too tired and lazy to change them (it's a big job), so no more photos today.
The sun is setting, so I ride the final five miles to the prized campsite at the north end of Mississippi Lake on Willow Ridge Road in the dark, aided by the beautiful full moon and my bike's headlight. A glorious ride that's a test of my endurance.
The temperature remains quite warm after sunset and I don't need to put on a sweater or long pants.
Willow Ridge Road theoretically descends from 2600 feet to 2200 feet at Mississippi Lake, but there are numerous long and steep ups and down as the road rides the ridgetops on the way "down." Sometimes I accumulate enough momentum going down one steep incline to make it most of the way up the next one.
I've never counted how many ridges are on this stretch of road, could there be a dozen? There's a reason it is often called "Roller Coaster Ridge" and avoided by many hikers.
I arrive in the moon-lit darkness of Mississippi Lake at 21h45, hungry, but almost unable to eat. I force myself to eat anyway, slowly, mostly potato chips, knowing how much I need food, and how much better I'll feel tomorrow morning for having done so (that is, if I ever wake up again).
Continue on Day 3: A short day hike from Mississippi Lake to Bear Spring.
Date: August 27, 2007, 19h09