Mo and I woke up in a light misting rain after having slept in the shelter. It was good that we did because it rained like hell all night long. It was a fitful sleep because a couple of hikers showed up at 10 pm, completely soaked, and fussed with their shit until late. Headlamps flashing everywhere.
We hit the trail at 7 am to hike the one mile down to the gap to meet up with her friends. They showed up around 730 and off they went– leaving me truly solo for the first time. All of my friends and trail family are significantly ahead of me. It will be cool to meet some new people and to hike alone for a while. Nonetheless it is definitely a little melancholy to see her leave. It was great to hike with her and her friends for a while and with her solo. She totally killed it on the trail for having no experience– especially the sixteen miles the day before. Go mo!
The weather totally defied the forecasts for thunderstorms and was sunny and humid all day. The hiking in the morning and early afternoon was easy except for the massive amounts of mud and water on the trail. I took an ill advised detour of a half a mile each way to get some supplies at a gas station. A Hunts Brothers pizza also set me back another half hour after I got there. I took a second detour of a half mile each way to see Dismall Falls– a pretty decent waterfall.
As the afternoon wore on the water and mud on the trail got worse. I got to a shelter after 15 miles at about 330 with the weather still holding despite forecasts of T-storms at 2:00. There is a famous hostel seven miles further. I gambled that the weather would continue to hold and set off to do the additional seven miles. That would leave only 12 miles left to Perrisburg the next day.
Right out of the gate was a monster ascent of 1500 feet in two miles. After having already done 15 miles, that almost killed me. There was a really spectacular view at the top as the weather continued to hold. The next few miles were flat and easy and I flew through them. Then the last mile and a half became a really hard descent with boulders and large rocks the whole way. It took me two hours to do that last mile and a half with a few points where I had to throw my hiking poles down first and climb backwards down the cliffs. I limped into the hostel at eight o’clock with nothing left in the tank.
After a quick shower and a quart of their famous hiker smoothie, I crashed hard in the bunkhouse. Tomorrow I will blaze the last 12 miles into Perrisburg for resupply and some much needed beer. Happy trails.