Early in the morning, Sherman comes to crawl under the quilt with me. A new luxurious option he’s discovered and likes very much.
fullsizeoutput_20f5 Every couple. days we pass the evidence of beaver activity. The ponds they create, but we have yet to see a beaver.

 
fullsizeoutput_20ff Totally in love with the tree roots…
fullsizeoutput_2105 The trail follows a small cliff for about half a mile.
fullsizeoutput_2107I couldn’t figure out what this odd marker could be at the top of one of the smaller mountains we crossed. When I showed this to Bob, he said that when he was younger he did some surveying with a relative and they would put this kind of marker as a property corner. That made sense. There are sections of the LT that go through private lands.
fullsizeoutput_21b5It’s a difficult trail to Puffer Shelter. Lots of steep rock slabs up and down.
fullsizeoutput_20f1The Puffer is a funky shelter with the most spectacular view. We lunch.
From there the trail gets smoother and smoother to Buchanan Shelter. Yes, there are still occasional steep ups and downs, but overall we are hiking fastest and easiest so far on the trail. This is a hint of things to come. Of course there is more difficult terrain between us and easy hiking. Camel’s Hump. Burnt Rock Mountain. The stretch between Appalachian Gap and Lincoln Gap. Killington Mountain. i’m told the hardest is over at Burnt Rock Mountain.
We are walking below a ridge line. We’re surrounded need mostly dead trees. No idea what killed them. They are all young. Less than 4 inches across. Sherman’s standing under a group of live pines. I hear bird wings. I see a small hawk or falcon dive bomber him. It’s not going very fast so it may be a reconnaissance mission. Sherman hears it coming and looks up. The bird pulls up a couple feet above his back. Then swoops in again. He’s still watching. The bird flys off. I put him in the leash until the trail goes back under tree cover. I think he’s too big to have been serious prey. Maybe the bird was teasing him. Sherman didn’t flinch. Was totally unconcerned.
fullsizeoutput_21b6Two milky quartz boulders. One covered by moss.
fullsizeoutput_21b4 Another wonderful large milky quartz chunk with a moss scarf. I don’t understand the geology of this. Right in the midst of the normal terrain and rock how does one large quartz boulder appear? I don’t grok it. But I love it. They are such a delightful surprise!
fullsizeoutput_21baA section of moss that’s doing the fall color change. This is a very unusual sight. 99.9% of the moss is still a bright green.
My GPS map doesn’t have most of the shelters on it, which means it’s based on an old trail map. This leaves me comparing the paper map with the GPS map at times trying to figure out where they match. At mountain peaks it’s obvious. At named rivers, it’s obvious. In the midst of a 5 mile hike through the woods I’m looking at trail shapes and trying to match curves and angles. This is the case with the hike to Buchanan Shelter. I think I know where we are. About a mile from the turnoff to the shelter. An hour later, we are at Harrington’s View. Oops. I thought we passed that 90 minutes ago. At least it’s a point that is on both maps. And it means we are NOW one mile from the turnoff.
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The shelter is nice. A sliding door on the bunk room and a porch with a gate in front. This setup is the nicest with Sherman. I can leave him off the leash in the shelter.
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We’re alone tonight in this shelter. A women thru-hiking north show up about 8pm and pitches her tent. We sleep well.