Today was the day of the Salamanders. In all, we counted 29 salamanders. One greeted us in the morning. Salamanders, as you probably know, like wet environments. Hence, the scene for the day is set.
The rain promised the night before had started at around 2 AM. We heard the rain from the tent which will magnify the sound of any drizzle to sound like a pour.
We finally packed up in the rain, which takes packing up inside the tent and then packing up the tent itself as quickly as possible. We made it to the first shelter a half a mile away to regroup.
By 2PM we had good ol' shoe squish squish, but the rain had mostly stopped. The next shelter was down a hill and .2 miles away which would usually mean we wouldn't visit. We tried having lunch while the rain was stopped. It started again so we trudged down to the shelter. Twelve Pack, Coach, River, Lost, and Anonymous had also waited out the rain. We headed out again when we started to get cold.
Two older guys, Tripod and Waterfall, that we had leapfrogged with a lot (they have usually hiked 5 miles by 7 AM) passed us again. We don't know much about these guys but they are friendly and easy to talk to. Waterfall is just doing a long section, but Tripod is going the whole way. Emily took a panorama of him at mccaffee knob that she later emailed to him. He was psyched.
By around 4, the rain had pretty much stopped. Waterfall and Tripod were heading to a hostel, and warned us that there was no water for ten miles. So unfortunately, since we wanted to camp somewhere in that range, it was slugging water across that stretch. The final six miles we hiked, to give us a perfect 16 miles for the day, went quickly and we found a nice tent spot on a ridge that even had the decency to give us some cell service for the night. And, even better, the skies cleared a bit and the inside of our tent was indeed dry. A victory of a rainy day. And the Salamanders had retreated from the trail but we're sure we will see them again.