July 18: mile 1274: Leroy Smith shelter

Duck and I woke up and started hiking through some of the worst rocks on the trail so far.  Miles of softball sized rocks buried with sharp corners pointing upward.  My feet are in agony.  Im taking a dozen ibuprofen a day just to get through this shit.  Ironically, the only relief we got was hiking through a ten mile stretch of an EPA superfund area that is poisoned by a long term zinc mine and smelting operations.  After decades some stuff is starting to grow again. We were told not to drink the water, filtered or otherwise, during that stretch.  My warnings to Duck unheeded, he gorged himself on blueberries all along that stretch of trail.  I told him that he is likely to start growing a third eye or something.

When we finally got to safe water it was a three quarter mile hike off trail– something hikers HATE to do.  The weather is so hot that I am drinking eight liters a day.  With water scarce, we have to carry extra liters and extra weight to avoid some of the mile long side trips to water.  Each liter weighs 2.3 pounds.  I actually carried four liters in order to avoid a lengthy side trip.  That’s ten pounds of water!  When we get to a spring, we get our maps out and try to cut it as close as possible.  Finally, we rolled into the shelter fairly early and crashed.  I am ready to hike on ground again — happy trails. 

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