I got a pretty decent night’s sleep but I think it will take a few of those to catch up from the weekend. There were some excellent views today and some fun climbing. Heading up Cove Mountain, there were large rocky areas on and off until I reached Dragon’s Tooth, a stone monolith. It was very tall and looked unclimbable from where most people would see it but I knew people went up there so I went around to the other side and it looked slightly easier. I made it up almost to the peak, maybe six feet shy. It was starting to narrow and get windy so I stopped. Climbing down was more difficult.

The mile after Dragon’s Tooth had even more rock scrambles. The blazes were really set up for southbounders, not northbounders, so sometimes I’d have to look straight down the rock wall to be sure that, yes, this was the trail. A few places even had rebar steps set in. There was a lot of walking along narrow ledges too, which is made difficult with a wide pack. I had to stop using my poles and use my hands and scoot down areas on my butt to get through. Then at the end of the mile, there was a sign facing the other way warning of the difficulty ahead. Where was my sign?

By the time I got all the way down the hill, I couldn’t stop yawning, although I still had seven miles left to go. I finally made it to Johns Spring Shelter after 18.6 miles. My feet are sore after all the rocks today. There weren’t many level areas to set up my tent on but I found a little side trail to an old road bed that is much more level and has leaves to soften the rocks. I’m starting to rethink the spot though because now there are cockroaches crawling on my tent and a cricket chirping six inches from my head.