It only rained a little bit last night but my tent was wet enough to go on the outside of my pack this morning. Stretch said she heard some coyotes running around and yipping on the trail nearby last night. She also had some mouse poop in her shoe this morning and I discovered later that there were rodent bite marks on the bite valve of my new drinking tube. Awesome. So I need to replace that already, and I’ve learned it needs to come in my tent at night. Who knew?

I wasn’t ready for the steep incline out of camp this morning as I’d only had one bar for breakfast because I was light on water and waiting until the next source a few miles up. Trail magic to the rescue! Day hikers Diane and Joey offered me an orange and a snickers. Nothing tastes better than fruit out here but it’s so heavy and has so few calories that it can’t be carried.

I resupplied on water and made it up to Max Patch for second breakfast and lunch. Max Patch is a very large, grassy bald with amazing views. I spread my tent out to dry and just enjoyed sitting there. A sudden gust of wind upset the tents we had laid out, and when running to grab those, other things went flying. My stove and pot tipped over but were still burning so I reset those but when I sat down again, they completely fell over towards me so I practically did a backwards somersault trying to get away. It would have been a funny scene to watch the three of us running around.

The next 5 miles were pretty level and went by quickly and then we climbed Walnut Mountain and Bluff Mountain. I started getting a weird pain on my left lower shin on the first mountain but it really started to hurt on the last downhill. I’m hoping it goes away overnight.

We did 15.8 miles total to a campsite on an old road bed. What the guide failed to mention was that there was still road under the grass and tent stakes don’t go in. My tent is not free standing so I need to stake it. We hadn’t gotten to camp until 7:30 and it took extra time to drag logs and rocks over to tie my tent to to keep it up so I had a dry dinner again. Just a snack really but I’d eaten a lot at a break at 5:00. If I get into camp close to dark, I lose motivation to cook. Plus my legs were just really tired and I wanted to lay down.

Town tomorrow! It’s still about 7 miles out so we couldn’t justify just doing the extra miles tonight, which is what has happened the last few times Stretch and I planned a nero the following day. The extra night in town always adds up though. I can’t wait for a shower and laundry. I am officially a smelly hiker all the time now but I’m still surprised at the stench.

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Written by Siren

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