Long day. Hiking was made difficult by dirt bikes being allowed on the trail in these sections. They really chew up the trail and it becomes a gully of loose, ankle-busting rocks. Not to mention them barreling down the trail and throwing dust all over you.

Stopped for lunch about 2 pm in a valley. Got about halfway through and thunder started rumbling and it started spritzing. Packed up and by the time I got to the ridge I was being pelted with hail that turned back to rain as I descended down the other side of the ridge. Most importantly, I discovered that my rain jacket no longer repelled water. I had the hood up and rain was running down my forehead and back and I was freezing from it!

Back down in the next valley I discovered some pleasant trail magic. just as it stopped raining I turned a corner and came upon this canopy with huge containers of food and drinks. I grabbed a couple bags of Doritos and a beer. Mmmmm. A couple guys came out of the tent next to the canopy and joined me and explained that they’d been there awhile but hadn’t seen the trail angel, Apple, yet. I grabbed a couple candy bars – Twix and Snickers – and chowed down while we talked. Perry and Garrett were out on a section hike carrying 17 days worth of food with them. They weren’t planning to go into any towns to resupply. Holy $%^#!!! I thought my 7 days of was bad enough. I usually figure 1.5 lbs of food per day. That means they were carrying about 25 lbs of food on top of their base pack weight (pack and gear without food and water). My base pack weight for this trip was about 20 lbs. So they were probably carrying 45-50 lb packs. Ouch!

We chatted for a bit but apparently my reputation preceded me. They knew all about me – my bear story, that I’d been sick, that I was from PA. Geez, the trail grapevine works.

I checked out the trail register. Bill and Keith had been through only 45 minutes before. I planned to stay at the same campsite and still had several miles to go so I decided to make supper while I was taking my break. A Lipton side packet and Clif bar later, I grabbed a soda for the morning and continued on. Got to camp just in time to get set up before the lights went out.