Monday, October 16, 2017

Run Your Own Race, unless running someone else's race IS your race.

I try to be a good person.  Cheerful, encouraging, because I feel like this world needs it.  I am my own worst critic, and this summer was miserable for me for training, because my heart and head haven't been in it.

But I was signed up for Oil Creek 100, the 100k distance (that's 62 miles, two loops of the course), and I went into it knowing I would enjoy the time, run with friends, and have no expectations of myself.  It was a new way to go into a race, and I think I liked it.

I ran with my friend, Megan, who was attempting her first 100k.  I ran the 100k back in 2012, and did a fairly good job back then, but I wanted to be there for Megan and get her to the finish.  So we ran, and boy, did we have fun!

Smiles most of the day.  Night was a different story.

Race day always starts early, but I wasn't too nervous until I got down to the school.  I hugged people and wished them good luck, and Megan and I started in the dark.  We whooped and cheered and trotted into the woods.

We were taking it slow, because we knew we had a long way to go - it was Megan's first 100k, and the furthest she had ever gone, and we were both slightly undertrained, due to a broken thumb for me, and her having her wisdom teeth out a month earlier, with complications.  So we took it slow, and we talked, whooped, high-fived (yes, with my stupid broken thumb, but I learned to switch hands, eventually), and cheered our way through the first loop.  

Megan and I are both talkers, so the miles went fast.  I was eating gels and drinking plenty of water, and checking in with Megan to make sure she was doing the same.  I kept checking in with her to make sure she was keeping track of how her feet were feeling as well.  I bonked my toes plenty of times, and tripped a dozen times, but caught myself.   We took our time at the Aid Stations, fixing feet, getting food, visiting with the amazing volunteers and friends we'd see there.

Fog lifting over the Derrick Tableau

The past year has not been an easy one for me.  No health issues, but life issues.  And I've learned a lot about me.  I've never felt "good" running alone during these events.  Never.  Not the kind of "bad" as in being in pain or stomach issues.  Not the kind of "bad" because the night is cold, or the day is hot or long.  I am my own worst enemy in my own brain.  But when I'm helping some one, moving someone else forward, I can do anything.  When I'm alone on the trail, I get full of frustration at myself, at the things I have done in life that are terrible and wrong, at what I should change to be a better person, and I lose myself in my own self-deprecation in my own head.

So running with Megan was a gift, it wasn't a chore.  Being her friend and companion, and a little bit of a nag was motivation for me.  I have done the best in all my races when someone is with me.  Even when it's my race, and have a pacer - I do better when I put it on myself to finish so not to let THEM down.  When my Dad paced me for the 100 - pushing for that last seven miles was so I could share those miles with him.

I don't know what kind of person that makes me. Maybe I need to be a pacer instead of running these races for "me." 

Hugging my boy at the end of section 3

One of the best parts of my day was that Eli was there at the end of section 3 the first time through.  I heard his little woo down through the woods, and sprinted down to meet him and give him a giant hug.  His dad had brought him, and we had been too fast through Aid Station 2 the first time to meet them.

Anyway, we made it back to the school aid station in the late afternoon, and the heat was getting to us.  I was still running some here and there.  My back had started bothering me a bit, but some stretching and a little bit of ibuprofen had worked the kink out.  Megan was wilting in the heat, so I was hoping getting back to the school and cooling down would help.  The paved bike path hurt, but we made it back.

Leafy long trails.  Beautiful out there!

We took our time at Aid Station 4.  I changed clothes and shoes, ate food, drank some pickle juice.  After walking around in the shoes I had changed into, I changed back into the others.  They hadn't been giving me issues, and the other shoes were rubbing as I walked around the Aid Station.  Dave D., Megan's pacer (and a fellow Oil Creek native and friend) was there at the Aid Station with chairs set up for us, filled our bottles, fetched us things, and patched us up for the next leg of our journey.  Rob G. was also there helping us out, and waiting for his pacee, Dan W.  We timed it out that once Dan came in, we were all ready to leave at the same time.  

Those next couple of miles on the bike trail were silly and I think just what we all needed.  I was feeling slightly off because of the food, but once we hit the end of the bike trail (and portajohn handily placed there), I felt much better, and we hit the trail.

Being silly on the bike trail

We started out together, but Dan wasn't feeling his greatest, and we slowly pulled ahead.  We hoped they would catch us eventually, but we didn't see them again, and Dan ended up dropping at Aid Station 1 as his legs stopped working reliably (as we heard later). 

We slowed down on Section 2.  Megan's feet were hurting, and though we were still chatty, I was getting tired, and I'd pull ahead and was watching the ground for wooly bears, and salamanders, and we even saw deer laying in the woods, their eyes shining at us with our headlamps. I think we would eventually count about 9-12 deer in different places in sections two and three.  Megan and I were each using one of my hiking poles to make the going a little easier for us.

The Derrick Tableau lit up at night.

When we got to the last little section before Aid Station 2, Megan didn't think she could walk up the set of stairs.  We told her we were getting her up those stairs if we had to carry her.  Her blisters on her heels were awful, but we got her up the stairs and through the last bit of trail to the aid station.  She was frustrated, because the rest of her felt good, but her feet were slowing her pace to a crawl.

As we walked the last bit of road to the Aid Station, I took the time to look up at the stars and breathe in the air. And got yelled at by Dave and Megan who didn't want me to get hit by a car on the road, as I had turned my headlamp off to look up at the stars.  I turned my lamp back on, and Megan cursed me (because I could still run) as I ran ahead to tell the aid station what was going on.

I kind of stayed back while folks evaluated Megan's feet.  Dan's wife Marley had brought us some cheeseburgers, and I actually had the appetite to eat one(in most races, by hour eighteen I'm only eating gels).  We found out that Dan had dropped and was back at the school, but I enjoyed the cheeseburger in his honor.

Megan made the tough decision to drop from the race, her feet being too painful to wrap adequately to put weight on, and we had nearly 18 miles to go to the finish.  I was a little bleary at this point, and sad that she had to quit, but I changed my shirt and shorts (I was having some chafing issue), and I asked Dave if he was going to keep pacing me, and he was.  I was glad, since I don't do well in the woods alone with only my inner monologue during the night.  I know I hugged Megan and wished her rest and healing as we took off.

The up hills were getting harder, even with poles, but on the flats I was cruising, and I was even trotting on some of the downhills.  I was sleepy, and Dave and I chatted about everything and nothing and wooed and hollered through the valley as we went.  I passed people here and there, and others passed us.

I was tired, and I ached, but it was easy to move forward.  I was enjoying the rustle of the leaves, the wind through the trees, the companionship with my friend, talking easily about work and life, teasing each other, checking in with each other to make sure we were eating and still feeling ok.

I'm not sure all the things I talked about as I wandered through the woods, hugging friends that I sometimes only see during this one weekend of the year, settling into this easy friendship and companionship with people that you might not agree with over the dinner table, but that you can be sister or brother to in the woods on the trail.  It's like the adventure books, being on this journey, and I don't do it well alone.

I don't mind being on my own, but in the woods, I do much better knowing there's someone that I'm depending on, for companionship, than I do arguing with that dark side of me in my head.  Even the quiet moments, the silence was not lonely, not empty.  It was full.

I don't know how to define myself in these moments, but I know I'd be so much less than who and what I am without this crazy community I'm part of.

Relentless forward progress.  And I have great legs, by the way.

We got to the bike trail, then to the school, and I jogged in the last little bit and finished in just under 25 hours.  I hugged the race director, I hugged Dave, and I sat down.  Dave got me hot tea, and we sat and waited for a couple of our friends to finish.  We then found out my good friend, Rog, had taken a bad fall on the trail, and hurt his eye pretty badly and was taken to the hospital.  This shook me quite a bit, and though I cheered some folks in, my head was with my hurt friend.

Roger has been pulling for me, cheering me on and been my running mentor and friend for a number of years now.  We've seen each other during some lows on the trails, and some highs, and I was angry that he was hurt.  Angry at what?  I couldn't tell you.  The trail?  The fact that I couldn't turn back time and make him un-hurt?  Grief is a funny thing, a sort of funny taste and twisting of your stomach.  The part that would have taken his place, that would've fallen instead so he wouldn't have.

We found out that he was ok, but the finish for me was not as joyful knowing that some of my friends were hurt, that some of my friends had to drop from the race.  There's a melancholy in the end of something, even if it was a success. In the struggle, in the pain, even when it's over, there is a little bit of emptiness.

Although the world is full of suffering, it also full of the overcoming of it...

Running this race had a lot to do with me overcoming of my own demons, and being with my good friends through much of it was part of that overcoming.  Thank you to Megan and Dave, and Rob and Dan for being with me for a lot of that journey.  I'm there for you guys, whenever you need it.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

A Rolling Hrach Gathers No Moss, But Maybe She Should?

There was a video game that came out a while ago, called Katamari Damacy.  You played as this... large rolling ball, and you rolled over things and they stuck to you.  You were gathering pieces of the universe, to put it back together.

The name of the game translates roughly to "Clumped soul," and what are we doing in life, so much as rolling through, gathering the things we want to stick to us, and letting those other things bounce off, or we roll away from those.  Yes, sometimes the bad things stick, but we work on getting those to fall off, or to become smaller, less signifiant.

So I spent my weekend with a lot of rocks.  Big ones.  Mountains.

Don't ask me which mountain this was.  I'm not that good.

I took my son, Eli and my younger dog, Joxer.  Zoe spent a few days with friends, and we packed and set out.

Now this was my first post separation vacation.  Just Eli and I.  I was nervous during packing, I was nervous during leaving.  I was nervous in budgeting.  I made some lists, put the mail on hold, took a deep breath, and we drove six and a half hours to a small cabin in the Adirondacks.  I found a pet friendly one, sort of in the middle of the Adirondack park via AirBnB.  It would've been cheaper to just camp, but I wanted to do something nice, and be comfortable, and not worry about the weather.

Turns out this was the perfect choice.  We took our time driving up on Friday, and I packed food to cook while we were there, my own coffee, and all the amenities.  We also took the bikes and paddleboard.

Our little one bedroom cabin.  Home for 4 nights.

The cabin turned out to be perfect.  Tiny kitchen, teeny bathroom, cozy family room, and snug bedroom.  Really, for an adult, a child, and a dog, perfect sized.  No, we couldn't fit in the kitchen at the same time, but since we were spending the majority of our time outside of the cabin doing outdoorsy stuff, it didn't matter how big the space was.  And it was sort of an eye opener on how little space we actually need.

So we explored.  The trails reminded me a lot of the trails I've been on in Central Pennsylvania, but even more technical.  But the views.  I can see why people go there and why people climb mountains.  I was nervous about pushing Eli to climb, and Joxer, but we climbed two very challenging smaller mountains, and we both loved it.  I think the only thing I regret is not sitting up there longer on either to take it in.  It's not like we were up and down right away, but a nine year old is only so patient.

Mount Jo - 2876 feet.

Storm clouds rolling away from mountains in the background from Mount Jo.

Crane Mountain - 3254 feet.  Crane pond in the background.

Relaxing at the summit.

Crane mountain from near the parking area (we still drove down quite a bit)

I learned a lot about myself on this trip.

First, I can do it alone.  And actually, really enjoy it.  I wasn't worried about when we would eat.  I took snacks.  I made dinner when we got back to the cabin, whether it was 5pm, or 8pm.  And no one was grumpy about it.  Eli was happy to swim or watch the Food Network until dinner was ready.  I could have the dog, and he was well behaved and I wasn't stressed about him being well behaved.

Second, I don't have to impress anyone.  Importantly, not my son, who enjoys himself, regardless of my own disappointments in myself.  And Most important, I don't have to impress me.  I can be happy with the little things, like a short walk with the dog and playing in a creek, to watching my son move red efts off the trails.

And last, I'm allowed to be happy, without a partner. Without strings attached or compromises or some kind of conditioning.  Now yes, I had my son and my dog, but I called the shots.  I made the final decisions about what we were doing.  I had a bad day on Sunday, where my "things to do" research went awry, and I was more worried about Eli being disappointed that I let myself focus inward for a while, instead of figuring out a different way to enjoy my time with my son.  So I moped while we were driving away from our failed biking excursion.  It wasn't a long mope, or a deep mope, but it made me realize what I was doing, and that I was waaaayyy more worried about it than he was. It was good to realize, and we still made the best of the rest of the day.

So I'm rolling along, gathering as much as I can, trying to leave behind the stuff that just weighs me down.  And I will be going back to the Adirondacks.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

I don't want the world. I just want your half.

I'm hitting a low point in my brain lately.  I keep hearing about my ex-husband and his new girl, and I have to admit, as much as I'm trying to be accepting and happy for him, I'm sad for me.  So I'm going to start looking for someone myself.

I want someone to watch the rain roll in, and who wouldn't be worried about standing outside and getting wet as the wind whips up around us.  I'm looking for someone who will get their hands dirty along side me digging up weeds, or planting seedlings, or will break off a leaf of lettuce or a green bean and eat it out of the garden.  Someone to sympathize and mourn a little when the deer or rabbits eat certain plants to the ground, but still laughs and admires the wildlife scampering through the yard.

I want someone to swim with me, and splash me and dunk me, and will let me kiss wet lips in the water, who will camp with me and curl in a tent with me, throwing off the covers when it's too warm, and curling closer when it's too cold.  Someone who wants to run with me for miles, or hike long days, or spend hours exploring a few feet of earth for the way trees grow, or will endure me taking photos of wildflowers, or catching salamanders or frogs.

I want someone who loves dogs and cats, and most animals, who doesn't ignore their existence and put up with them, but lets them share our lives, as brief as the time with those fuzzy creatures is.  I want someone who pats the couch to include them, not getting angry about invasion.

I want someone to dream with, to share stories with, someone who hasn't shut off the magic from me, who is the magic to me.  Who as soon as they leave the room, I'm waiting until I see them again.  Someone who smiles easily, who complains little, who lives instead of just thinking about how to live.

Maybe this is too much.  I know it's not been long, and I'm just hoping I can find someone to put up with a woman who is growing older and more cynical daily, who has trouble saying no to people who need help, who has too much affection for her dogs.  Who is too trusting, and too honest (if there is such a thing).

I think I'll keep trying, and take a few more risks, and maybe there's someone out there who will give an almost used up nature girl a chance.  I hope so.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Out of the Comfort Zone: The Susquehannock Trail System Backpacking Trip - Day Four

(Part One, if you missed it. Part TwoPart Three, Part Four.)

Day four started out cold.  It had been the coldest over-night so far, with clear skies, though over night, a few drizzles moved in, and the morning was cloudy and cool.  We got going, knowing this was our shortest mileage day, and that we would be back home before the end of the day.

My left shin and ankle were still hurting pretty bad, but I set off strong, pushing myself first since I was the slowest on the hills.  I was also both eager to get out of the woods, and not really at all.  There is something basic in the immediacy of the outdoors. Do what you need when you need, then keep going.  Especially when other people depend on you.

I hiked alone quite a bit of the morning, enjoying the woods and sights and sounds.  I listened to a little bit of music, but it was making me too sad, so I stuck to the sound of streams and the wind and birdsong.

The stream flowing back towards camp.

More well marked signs.

We stopped for lunch along a creek with about 10 miles left to go in our hike. The spot was really nice, and we took a little more time than usual, knowing it was our last meal on the trail.  It was in a nice spot by a creek, and we knew we only had one more big climb before the end of our hike.  The temps were cooler and the wind was picking up, which made getting moving more appealing.

We passed through Patterson State Park, which was just a tiny campground, but they had toilets!  The trail became very easy and rolling, and we passed some beautiful areas.  I took a lot less pictures - I think mostly because we kept moving, and I was enjoying just being in the woods.

It's hard to describe that last few hours on the trail.   There was an excitement that we had finished the circuit of this trail, but also a sadness that we were done.  Happy that we would be in warm dry homes at the end of the day, but a little sad that soon we'd be glued to our phones and screens.  Wanting the comfort of a hot meal without sitting on the ground, but not missing the idea of crowds or traffic.

So we finished up in a drizzle, in the cold, and we waited so that we all could finish together.  And we did.  We cleaned up, drove into the nearest town together, had a nice dinner (with a lot of hot tea).  We got home very late, and I got a very long shower, and spread out all my stuff to dry, and fell asleep.

Rich at one of the last log boxes.

Almost done


The brassard!  

Wooden map at the trailhead - we followed the yellow bit.

I learned a lot on this trip, about backpacking, about myself.  I had taken a little journal - I only wrote in it once.  I think I'd take it again though, especially on a trip with a little more down time.  I took soap to wash my clothes in - I wouldn't take that on a hike less than a week long, I think, I didn't use it.  I took pretty much the right amount of clothing, but I'd figure my feet out better before next time.  I think there's something to doubling up on socks.  I took just a little too much food, but only just.  Everything else I was pretty happy with.

I want to thank Rich and Alisha and Daren - they know I'm still new at this, and give me advice while still letting me figure out stuff for myself.  I wouldn't be where I am without them.  And they're great at giving you space for yourself on a hike, while still being there when you want company, and making sure you're eating and drinking when you need to.

I can't wait to get out there on the next trip!

Part One, if you missed it. Part TwoPart Three, Part Four.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Out of the Comfort Zone: The Susquehannock Trail System Backpacking Trip - Day Three

(Part One, if you missed it. Part TwoPart Three, Part Four.)

Now, before I get into day three, I've been painting this trip as realistically as I can, while skipping some of the more... trivial details.  Truth is, I was pretty comfortable on the trail.  Going to the bathroom isn't an issue, I've been peeing outside since I was little (I felt that it was unfair that boys could pee wherever they wanted, so as an outdoorsy kid, I remedied that injustice for myself pretty early), and as a trail runner... well, when you gotta go, you gotta go.

I was fine drinking (treated) creek water.  I was using a sawyer mini filter to filter my water right as I drank it, and I had a steri-pen that I was treating my water before cooking with it during meals.  Up until I couple of years ago, I was terrified that every time I was lighting my little folding stove, the fuel container was going to explode (I'm pretty comfortable with it now), and I've figured out what kind of foods work best for the trail (with some help from Rich and Alisha).

I'm not used to carrying weight.  My pack weighed around 33 pounds when I started out.  My back and shoulders actually did really well for the trip.  My feet were another story.  I was wearing running shoes, and by the end of the first day, I had a couple of pretty bad hot-spots, and starting out the second day was fairly painful to start, but once I started walking, the pain faded.  I tried taping / bandaging my feet, but the bandages ended up smooshing around in my wet socks and shoes, making the rubbing and blisters worse.

The third day, I wore sock liners and then toe socks, which seemed to do ok.  My feet felt pretty good.  I however, was developing some severe pain in my left shin, but I clenched my teeth, and moved forward.  There was no "DNF" in this hike.  So I hiked.  I had a couple near-tearful moments going downhill a few times, when my leg would feel particularly bad, but I took a couple deep breaths, looked at some flowers, and pushed on.  Day three and four were rough for me, pain wise, but I tried not to let it detract from my experience.  

I took ibuprofen, I used body glide, I had sun-block and chap-stick.  I brushed my teeth every morning and every night.  I put powder on my feet every night, and put cocoa butter on them every morning.  Besides the few things I've mentioned, I felt good, I slept pretty good each night, and I never felt like I was missing something or lacking anything, though I will do a better job choosing footwear and sock layering next time.

I want to say the third day of hiking was probably the best weather day, and a pretty good day in general.  The hiking was challenging, but not as difficult as day two, and we had settled into a routine.      
Grass and Pine area leaving camp on Wednesday morning.

Pine tunnel

The highlight of the day would be reaching the small village of Cross Forks, which had a store, bar, and maybe bathrooms!  We had hoped to reach it the day before, but had underestimated the distance, so we looked forward to an early Wednesday lunch.  As the day continued, we realized we were following Elk tracks along the trail.  We followed them all the way into Cross Forks.

Kinney's Country Store and Bar - sub sandwiches, Dr. Pepper, and Swedish Fish!

We came down into Cross Forks into a little bit of a rain shower.  We went into the store and bought sandwiches and drinks, and I replenished my Swedish Fish.  I wasn't very hungry, so I ate part of my sub and some chips, and knew I didn't want to be too stuffed for the next climb out of the valley.

The clouds broke as we left town, and the day became beautiful, crisp and sunny.

Leaving Cross Forks, over Kettle Creek
 There was a mile of road followed by a pretty challenging mile uphill.  I set off by myself for a little while, and felt pretty strong.  We all gathered at the top of the hill, and I popped on my ipod on and led the way along some of the nicest trail we had been on.  Flat and gradually down, we approached the Hammersly wild area, and a section where a remote "Pool" was.

The trail continued to be very well marked.

Mountain Laurel lined paths.  I bet this is amazing in mid-June.

Logging our visit in a sign in box.

Green woods... skies.

Lunch break at "The Pool"  A very remote portion of the trail.  Five miles of challenging hiking from the closest road.

Unfortunately, it was a little too cold to see how nice the swimming would be.

It was a good spot to fill up my water pack.

And to just enjoy the scenery for a little while.

 I think the thing that made me both happy and sad about the area around "The Pool" was it's remote location.  I thought how neat it would be to bring my son back there, and show him, and let him swim in the creek, but at nine years old, with how challenging the trail was in this part, I knew it might be a bit much for him.  It gives me something to look forward to doing with him, though...

Leaving the area of Hammersley Fork

We stopped for dinner at "Duff's Camp", or as it was so proclaimed on a small wooden sign, and then we continued on our way. We were all giggly and in good spirits after a very good day of hiking. Little did we know...

The trail after "Duff's Camp"

"Three days on the trail me."  I think this was right after I faceplanted in some (luckily soft) dirt.

We came to a railroad grade that went a long a wide valley, as twilight was just starting to fall.  We knew we had one more big hill before we came back to a campsite down along another creek. We found a sign in box in the valley, near some houses - the first real houses we'd seen that weren't in Cross Forks.  We started up the hill.  There was a gorgeous view, but it was a super steep up, and was long, and came into some very challenging side-trail down.

Rich signing us in.

Alisha ready to go!

The last view of the evening.  Beautiful old mountains.

The camp wasn't the best, but night was falling, we were exhausted, and the temps were dropping.  We set up fast, I layered all my clothes I had on, and curled into my sleeping bag.  I was a little sad.  It was the last night of vacation, and tomorrow we would finish up and return to the real world...

Part One, if you missed it. Part TwoPart Three, Part Four.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Out of the Comfort Zone: The Susquehannock Trail System Backpacking Trip - Day Two

Part One, if you missed it. Part Two, Part Three, Part Four.

Day Two started out slow.  There's something about waking up outside, but in a tent, as the dark gets a little less dark, and maybe you here a chirp of bird-song, and you can start to see the side of the tent in front of you, and though you're not sure what time it is, you're awake, and you get moving.

We had breakfast, packed up camp, and headed out.  We were hoping to get some good miles in.  There had been no bear activity, that we could see, but there were a couple times in the middle of the night where the peepers suddenly were silent, and then after a few minutes, would resume, so something had wandered by.

Grassy doubletrack crossing the trail.

The day started out pretty easy, and after a couple of easy miles, we descended into Ole Bull State Park and campground.  We took a break to fix feet and have a snack, fill our water at an on site pump, and use real toilets!  Woo!  

Long down into Ole Bull State Park

The day was brightening.  Bridge over Kettle Creek.

Now I like maps.  I like having them on hiking trips, mostly because they can save your life and keep you from getting lost.  But I also don't like to look at them in too much detail.  I knew a big hill was coming, but I didn't know how big.  We climbed and climbed and climbed out of the park.  We kept each other going, and finally made it to the top.  This was the first in what would be a very challenging day.

The vista after the climb away from Ole Bull

The scenery was lovely, but was even better with a little bit of blue sky.

We came to a creepy part of the trail called Spook Hollow, where the sign said "Stay to the center of the trail, stay within the sight of companions, refrain from looking back, Do Not Try To Run"  The pines and spruces grow so close together in this section, that when the wind blows, they creak and groan.  It was a rather spooky section of the trail, and I'm glad it was daylight and the sun was bright at this point, or it would've been scarier.

The beginning of Spook Hollow

The trees were thick, making the woods dark, even in the sun.

There were some really amazing trees.

The day was long and difficult.  There were a few sections of old railroad grade, but then we came to the Doughnut Trail.  It was a super steep downhill grade, followed by a super steep uphill.  Followed by more steep down, and some rolling tough double track and gas line.  We were all spent.  We were incredibly lucky though, finding the campsite we had been shooting for was a shelter!  It made the long push at the end of the day worth it.

Old Railroad Grade.

Super steep Doughnut Hole Trail - following Alisha down

Looking back up.  Not sure if the camera really captures how steep these hills were.

 Bridge at the bottom of the hill, then heading back up.

There were a lot of creek crossings - the bridges were no more.  Ok, mostly it was us crossing the same creek multiple times

Looking behind from where we had come, going up the last hill before we hit the shelter.

Having the shelter made for a very cheerful evening, but we decided that we would get up earlier and get going quicker the next day, trying for as many miles as we could cover on Wednesday to make our last day as short as we could.  We were 42.5 miles in, roughly, pretty much halfway done, and it was our hardest day.


Part One, if you missed it. Part TwoPart Three, Part Four.