Just finished updating Sept 21-26.
We go to sleep at 7. I wake up at 11:30. It’s cold. Sherman is curled up between my legs. I have on my wool sleeping pants and shirt. Sleeping socks, gloves and pull on hat. My pants with legs zipped on. My Houdini wind breaker and my down jacket. Only thing not on is my rain layer.
It’s around freezing. With a fully dry quilt I’d be warm without as many layers. So, time for the space blanket. I put it over the quilt and pull Sherman under with me. It gets warm fast. Sherman crawls out. Too warm. He curls in my knee. Like a spooning dog.
We sleep fairly comfortably. I have a series of anxiety dreams. Some are lucid some are not. One long one with new chapters after waking and rolling was a Jurassic Park kind of story. Dinosaurs out of control. In the end I discover the control room and all is well. Another one Sherman and I are going down a very steep rocky section. He’s on the leash. He starts pulling and pulls me off the rock. I fall. Then in mid air… wait a minute. He’s not strong enough to do that. Back on the rock. He’s pulling. I tell him to stop and he lets up and waits for me to get to his level. We go on.
Woke at 5:30. Wanted to be waking at 6:30. It was so fucking cold at 5:30 I invited Sherman under the quilt and he crawled under and curled right up. We went back to sleep until 6:15.
When I remove the space blanket from the quilt there is a layer of condensation between them. Our heat did drive out the moisture from the quilt and then it was contained by the space blanket. Now the quilt is wetter. Not good. It’s supposed to be sunny and in low 60s today. So around 2 I’ll be looking for a sunny place for lunch and lay the quilt out in the sun to dry. Hope to find some dry and warm rocks for this.
We walk out of camp at 8. It’s 3.2 miles to the Summit. I guess it’ll take us 4 hr. It takes 5. It’s not as hard as going up Mansfield. But it’s hard. Slow going. Steep rock and root staircases.
Staircases on the way to the summit.
A view of the summit as we start winding our way there.
A few day hikers pass us on the way up. And Dave, about my age, who is thru-hiking NOBO. We talk for about 10 min and keep on hikin’.
I walk into a rocky area that is all sunny. I realize that I need to organize my pack so that I can lay the quilt in the sun whenever I’m an a break. So, Sherman and I take a quilt break. It gets warm and fluffs up a bit.
When we reach the summit, there are about 20 people at the top. All day hikers. Small or no Packs. I find the GMC caretaker and talk with her for awhile. I ask where the trail goes from here. Because we’re on the highest point around, she can point. “It goes down from the summit here. Then down to the bottom there. It goes over that summit (much lower) and that’s where Montclair Glen Camp is. Then those two jumps are the Allens and that’s Burnt Mountain. From there it goes down to Appalachian Gap.” It’s cool to see the map in the real and not imagine from paper.
These are views from the summit.
I ask her where she’d recommend laying out my quilt. She tells me of a spot about a tenth of a mile down the trail. We go there and have a quilt break with the other side up. More fluff. Still not 100% dry, but much, much better.
So, after all my anxiety about going down the south side of Camel’s Hump, here we are going down the south side of Camel’s Hump. And it IS steep and sketchy. About a quarter mile past the quilt break, Sherman and I reach a point where we have to go around a corner on an 8 inch wide granite shelf. There are good hand holds for me, but no paw holds I can see. I get him to stay behind me and I get around the corner, hold his leash and coax him. He looks and looks. Then takes a step and goes around the corner. This was the scariest place on the trail to date. Then we were on the seemingly endless downhill scramble.
I wondered what Extremely Difficult meant as a trail description. Now I know. Very steep. Very rocky. Lots of pulling up using trees. Lots of sliding down on my butt. VERY SLOW to do it safely with attention.
As we got to the bottom of the Camel and headed toward Montclair Glenn Camp I expected the trail tread to get easier. No. Some of the hardest downhill sections were here. I had to take off my pack, get Sherman down a zone, tie him up, go up and get my pack and go back down twice. The only places so far I’ve had to do that.
Important! We’re having fun. We’re both uninjured. We’re both not overtired. We’re taking care of each other in the ways we can.
Tomorrow we go over the two Allen peaks and Burnt Rock Mtn. I hear this is the last rock scramble section of the trail heading south. We’ll see how it goes. I’d like to get to App Gap and get picked up by Bob and Chris. That’s 10 miles. Probably we’ll have one more night in a shelter before we see App Gap. We will see.
Also, it’s going to rain tonight for a few hours. Ending around 7am. Then wait until the rocks dry off…
Just finished updating Sept 21-26.