Day 17

Luckily no rain last night. With the heat yesterday I thought we were due for a storm. I resume my morning routine of packing up and away I go by 8:30. My goal was 12 miles but maybe I could push 18 to a shelter I would feel more comfortable at. I stuck my aching feet in the icy cold creek before I left camp. After a big rocky climb I walked through a grassy field with beautiful views. Soon after I passed the Keffer oak which is 300 years old.

As I was starting the second big climb of the day I heard something fall from a tree. It was a black snake and it looked like it has just eaten something. I watched it slither down and I continued ever vigilant for snakes on the trail.

The heat was an issue again today. It sucks the fun right out of a hike especially if I’m climbing. Once I reached the ridge of Sinking Creek Mountain the trail flattened out. My morale was taking a nose dive. There were mounds of rocks on top of the ridge called the Bruisers Knob Cairns supposedly built by farmers for their apple orchards. I was too tired to take a picture and I got a creepy vibe from the place. I reached the shelter at the 12 mile mark but it was a half a mile straight down with water even further. The elevation map looked moderate on the ridge and then a climb down. It was 6 miles, it looked reasonable so I rubbed down my feet and pressed on. The views from the ridge were fantastic.

Two miles in, I found the ridge trail turned into a slanted sheet of rock not a rolling dirt path I had been used to in the last 100 miles. I was too tired and grumpy to take a picture. Dark clouds were forming up ahead and I heard thunder. The trail was headed right into it. I stared running in an effort to get off the ridge because of lightening. At the end of the ridge I saw a sign for the eastern continental divide.

I began the 3 mile climb down to Niday shelter. I arrived around 7 pm completely exhausted and barely walking. There was a crowd there of about 6. One hiker named Somewhere had an accent like my aunt Katie. She had been out for 20 days taking it slow doing 6 to 10 miles a day with no particular end goal. When she was tired she’d go home. I was ready to go home.

Mile: 669 – 687.2 (18.2)

Total: 192.7