September 26: mile 2100: stealth camp by stream 

To try and beat the heat and to make up some miles, I woke up at five and was on the trail in the dark by 530.  I was clearly annoying the others in the shelter so I hope to avoid them for these last days.

It’s always nice hiking into the sunrise; it really makes you feel productive.  The temps hit 90 for the second consecutive day with the added complication of mountains.  First up is Barren Mountain— a 2000 foot climb from 500 feet to 2500 feet.  It was just miserable in the heat and humidity.  It was also slow going with frequent water stops. 

 At the bottom of the mountain there was a small logging road with sign directing hikers to trail magic a quarter mile down the logging road.  I’ll bite on a quarter mile any day of the week if there are cold sodas involved.  When I got there I found a hunting cabin with a older gentleman grilling burgers and hot dogs.  There were three other hikers already there.  Cha-Ching, hallelujah!  I sat down and was informed that I could have two beers for free but would have to pay 1.50 for additional beers.  Wow.  I had two hamburgers and a dog washed down with three beers and two mountain dews.  

I reluctantly departed after 45 mins and prepared to tackle the Chair Back Mountains.  First up was Chair Back Four — a 700 foot climb from 1800 feet to 2500 feet.  It was steep and the temps remained in the nineties.  

As the day was waning I pressed on to tackle Chair Back Three — 1000 foot climb.  I was nearly out of water and was hoping to find a stealth spot on the down slope by a stream.  I finally got to the top as the sun was setting.  The view was spectacular with the sun setting over nearby mountains.  I stood at the top feeling like there wasn’t another person for a hundred miles.  I watched the sun set for a bit wishing that I could sleep right there at the top.  Since I was out of water I had to quickly descend the mountain and look for a spot.  It was dark when I got to the bottom and found the stream.  There was a spot for maybe two tents by the stream.  I camped next to another hiker named Bluejay and called it a night.  A very long 15 mile day.  Happy Trails.

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