We left at 7:30. Still took 90 minutes to get on the trail. Looking at the elevation profile I expected portions of the trail to be steep. I was not disappointed. Very steep. Most of it soft forest trail. A couple very rocky spots. Especially coming down through Clarendon Gorge. Another pile of boulders strewn down a steep gully.

As we get to the road there are stairs going up and over the barbed wire fence. We cross the road and the trail follows some farm land. Sherman keeps stopping to look for animals. Sheep? Cows? Sees none and keeps walking.

The recent frost has killed these ferns in an area not protected by trees.
More wild rose.
The trail goes up steeply from the road toward the next shelter.
I think we’re still in the porcupine hazard zone, so Sherman is still on the leash. He acquiesces and hikes along with me, but I fear there’s an energy building that will explode when he gets let off tomorrow or the next day.
We get to Minerva Hinchey Shelter in 3 hours and take a break. I offer him food. He hasn’t eaten today. Not hungry. We move on. We’re racing the cold front and the rain at it’s leading edge.
The trail goes very steeply up toward Greenwall Shelter. Over 1000 ft elevation in a mile and a half. Again, it’s a forest trail. No big rocky zones. No big tree root staircases. Just straight up the side of the mountain with some jaw dropping views of the fall colors.

I think this is the peak of the fall colors. Some are still ripening. Some are falling.
After a stroll through the Vermont Wood, we come to Bully Brook.
I looked and saw this Vermont alligator…
I just stood and looked at this bridge for many, many minutes. The geometry and color… OMG!

Lots of water flowing over rock waterfalls, into pools, down rapids, and bubbling and tumbling down the mountain. Sherman gets his favorite fast running mountain water drink. I fill up all our water bottles. I know there’s no water at the next shelter.
Just as we begin walking on the turnoff to the shelter it starts raining. 10 minutes earlier I’d noticed that the sky was darker. We walk the quarter mile to Greenwall in light rain. As we climb onto the platform and I begin to unpack it rains harder. Our timing is perfect. Get to the shelter before it starts raining. Stay here overnight while it clears and head out in the cold, clear morning.
In the midst of the moderate rain another hiker shows up. He’s from Malibu. Lived in Oxnard and recently retired after working at Point Magu. Sherman and I both like him, Allen. Trail name “grasshopper”.
While he’s making his dinner, I brush Sherman. I find and remove 4 ticks from Sherman’s head and one from his neck in the collar zone. None are deeply embedded or bloated with blood. They all come out easily with the tick tweezers I got on Amazon. Not sure if he picked them up yesterday when one crawled on my calf or today walking through tall grasses. I didn’t give him a full brushing last night. The ticks tonight are a good reminder for daily brushing and full body checks.
How long do ticks live when the dog has been treated with a flea and tick poison?
The wind and rain are delightful. The trees sway and the leaves fall. All in a magical musical interlude.