Daily Miles: 20
Total Miles: 454
Once again it rained during the night, but seemed to take a break when we got up. The morning actually turned out quite nice and we had some blue skies for awhile.
The trail continued to be super muddy and water-logged. It felt like we were going slower to make sure we didn’t slip and fall in the mud, but we actually were making pretty good time.
Within the first few miles of walking this morning, we saw several elk. They ran off as we came up the trail, but SweetPea was happy to see her first elk of the trip.
Mid-morning we caught up to several hikers we have been leap-frogging with for several days. We hiked with Ana, Ariel, and Anthony for awhile. It is nice to hike with new people sometimes, as the conversation seems to make the time pass by quickly.
The first part of the day involved walking up and along a ridge that we had heard is known for having frequent lightning. We wanted to be sure to get over it before the afternoon, and we had no problem finishing the ridge by lunchtime. There was even a small knifes edge on the ridge which was fun. The high point of the day was over 12,000 feet and it was our last time that high on the trail.
We had lunch down by Taylor’s Lake with seven other CT hikers. It seemed crazy for so many of us to be in the same spot after we have had so many days without seeing more than one or two other hikers.
After lunch, we could see that the sky was turning darker. We heard thunder and saw some lightning, but luckily the lightning was in the opposite direction from where we were headed. The rain started within 20 minutes of us starting back up. We had some exposed sections, but just kept walking since it was only rain. It started coming down pretty hard, so we took cover under some trees for almost a half hour.
Once the rain started to lessen, we headed out again. The rain certainly didn’t do anything to help out the condition of the trail…it was even more flooded and slippery. We were heading downhill for awhile and the trail was extra slick as we headed down.
Partway through our descent, we entered an area which felt very different than what we had been hiking in. It felt like a Canyon with rocky walls. The plants seemed so thick and jungly. We followed a creek for several miles until we got to the low point for the day.
We started up a climb and then found a nice spot for our dinner break. The forest was so thick and sloped, we were happy to find a flat open space. As we were cooking, the group of six hikers we have been leap frogging with came up and decided to make camp. Even though it was early and not raining, we decided to stay at the same campsite so we could have some time socializing with the other hikers.
We got our hammocks and tarps up just as it was starting to sprinkle. Luckily it didn’t last long and then we all hung out near the fire pit (without a fire) and just chatted. It was a nice final evening on the trail. It has felt often very solitary (or couple-y in our case) on this trail, so it was nice to have a more social day on the trail.
It is hard to believe that we will be finishing the trail tomorrow. It feels like we are just going in for another town stop. We are hoping for a nice weather day tomorrow, so that we can end on a good note.