Today we went on a hike to Lake Mystic in the Anaconda-Pintler Wilderness Area. We had a big breakfast at the restaurant inside our hotel, gathered our gear, and started the drive to the summit. It was a long and bumpy drive. When we finally arrived, the mosquitoes swarmed and feasted on our flesh until a cloud of bug repellent was released into the air. The bug spray provided temporary relief from the blood-hungry insects, but after it’s effectiveness wore off, they attacked with a vengeance. During our short reprieve from the irritating wildlife, we grabbed our packs, changed from shoes to hiking boots, and started up the hill. The trail was fairly steep, and we took short breaks often. All of us are out-of-shape, and my parents and I aren’t used to the increased elevation (Billings is 3124 feet above sea level; Anaconda is 5335 feet above sea level), so hiking up a very steep hill wasn’t a piece of cake. In addition to this, all of us were lugging backpacks filled with fishing gear or food (I carried a backpack filled with water bottles and a CZ .22 rifle on my shoulder). I also brought my new camera along. I snapped a lot of nice pictures of the forest we were hiking in. I also took a few nice pictures of the wildlife we encountered.
We hiked up the trail for nearly two-and-a-half hours until my parents begin to worry that we were on the wrong trail. When my dad and my grandpa looked at the trail on the map, it appeared to only be two miles long. It seemed as if we’d hiked well over then two miles. My dad told us to wait and he would hike up the trail and see if he could find any sign that we were close to the lake. He dumped his gear and began to hike up the mountain while my mom and I rested on some boulders near the trail. He came back a few minutes later with disappointing news. The trail changed from a straight trail to switchbacks, and he feared that this was a sign that we were on the wrong trail. Feeling tired and a disappointed, we began a speedy descent down the trail. We made the trip down the trail in less then half the time it took us to hike up. When we finally reached the truck, we seen two people with horses heading back to their trailer. My grandpa asked them if they had been up the trail we attempted to hike, and if it was the trail that led up to Mystic Lake. They replied that they had gone up the trail, and that it did, in fact, lead to Mystic Lake. They also told us that it took them three hours to reach the lake on horseback. They told us that we were fairly close to the end of the trail when we stopped and turned around, and that we totally epic failed. Game over.
After the hike, we drove around the forest for a while. We stopped at a fishing access area to fish a bit before nightfall, but the mosquitoes swarmed and sent us back to the truck. We went back to the hotel, and went to sleep.
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