The morning was sunny and dry. So dry, in fact, that the rain fly which we had put on wet, was dry. Even the socks, too wet to worry about night time rain, had dried out.
We hiked a mile and a half to Jennings Creek, at which there was a well known swimming hole. But it was still too cold for us. Lost, sitting near the swimming hole, told us about her hike, which got off to a rough start when she broke part of her foot early on and only started hiking again at Damascus. She would slack pack in Maine when she went home for a wedding and then later flip flop back to Damascus to finish up later.
After four miles, we reached the beautiful Bryant shelter, we didn't stop, but it marked the start of a serious uphill for the next ten miles.
While the beginning was steep, it wasn't tough until the last 800 feet (of about 3000 feet) because, as always, the terrain became loose rocks. Ankle snappers, foot hammers, etc.
It was quiet on the trail. We walked through a rock formation called the Guillotine (a boulder sandwiched between two enormouser boulders), before the final shelter we would pass for the day. Again, there was a long section upcoming with less than reliable water. There was supposed to be a spring nearby, but we never saw it. The water source at the shelter was just a stagnant stone structure that looked like it used to be perhaps a well. Now it was full of leaves, flower petals, and growing moss structures. We decided to pass it by for another flowing source a few miles more.
We did find water at the campsite we decided to stop at after an 18.8 mile day, a few miles beyond Thunder Hill Shelter. The only other person there at the time was Kansas, who asked us about our story for being on the trail (specifically why and how). His story was neat. He was a retired air traffic controller who started training for 10ks, then half marathons, then marathons, then iron man, then cross country races. He said the next step was a challenge that would take three to six months. And here he is!
Soon after, a half dozen or so hikers showed up at the campsite. One of them was Monty, always a more than welcome face to see. Monty's arrival even gives Tyler a chance to to speak some bad french.
While hanging the bear line, we tried to get down another line stuck in the tree (we had recently left our other line in a shelter and only had a short twelve foot line). Then we got that line stuck by wrapping the throw rock around the tree twice. And there went out fourth line. Monty would have to throw a line for us that night.
We were also running low on stove fuel so we decided that we would haul 23 miles to the Punchbowl shelter to get a ride to Buena Vista. This would also give us a chance to pick up Tyler's new kindle finally after bouncing around for a while. We headed to bed early (for us), before Tyler and Monty even had a chance to play cribbage.
*Are squirrel suits ok?