We hiked in a half a mile from the parking lot to the Rt. 30 shelters and were blessed to have a shelter far away from everyone else with a beautiful view through the trees of the mountains beyond. It was nice to reconnect and hear about what had been happening at home. It was also nice to leave the fire building and water pumping to him.
I was awoken twice - once in the middle of the night when I thought I heard chewing, but then dismissed it as an over active imagination, and then a second time when I realized the light had changed. I was delighted to see that I was able to see the sun rise from my sleeping bag in the shelter. We only had 11 miles to cover that day, and the morning was pleasant so we slept in and had a slow start to our morning. When I pulled the food bag down I discovered that I had heard chewing - there was a hole in the bottom of the bag. Grrr....
After a few small climbs, the majority of the day was a ridge walk through state forest and game lands. The trail crews have had fun on this section of trail with several great benches, and even a tic tac toe game. Ferns, and rocky out croppings abounded.
About half way through the day we started seeing giant bear tracks in the mud, but alas, no bear.
We also suprised a junco off of her nest when coming through one of the rock tunnels. Poor bird - she probably flies off every time a hiker comes through. What a poor choice for a nesting spot.
We got into camp shortly before it started to rain again, and settled in for another damp night.
I didn't sleep well. I dreamed all night that the bear would come find our food bag. I even had a dream about a carniverous deer. Sleeping on the shelter floor was starting to get to me.
We awoke to rain on the final morning, and hiked the majority of the day in rain or drizzle. There were a few beautiful sections of rhodedendron in the last few miles, but no views. After a moderate descent, by about 3 PM, mile post 70 came into view. I had done it - the end of the trail was here. The sun came out and the fog cleared away as I neared the end. It was good to spend the week on the trail, and good to finish my goal. I was a little sad while cleaning up and putting the gear away when the Woodsman reminded me that the way to fix that sadness was to plan the next trip. I'll keep you posted.