Thursday, June 16, 2016

Day 50: the Priest

6/9: Buena Vista - Ledges on Priest Mtn
Mile: 806.1 - 827

It's cool when I wake up but hot almost instantly gone. We walk over to a good spot on the road and try to hitch back up to the trail. After half an hour a local cop very nicely asks us to move up the road as he's worried there's too much big rig traffic and it's a dangerous road. At the visitors center I start to lose hope, but after almost an hour a local mom pulls over and along with two kids and a dog we are on our way.

It's climbing to start and as usual the muggy heat has me sluggish and feeling slow as ever. There's open areas which are beautiful but so hot in the open sun. This east coast summer is rough and makes me love the green tunnel even more.

The wind picks up but the whole day seems slow. There are pockets of ferns and rhododendrons and grass so green it looks like velvet.

These bear signs have been everywhere since at least the smokies. Bears are certainly on the trail this year.

At the Priest Shelter I think about stopping. There is a delicious spring but also at least 10 people and I decide to push on just a little farther to the top of the climb. I'm so happy I dragged myself a little farther. There are large rocky ledges where the wind is whipping next to lovely grassy campsites under blooming rhododendrons. I get a gorgeous sunset and a cool enough wind that hopefully sleep will be easy.

The only hiccup in my evening? I'm starting to worry my toe is infected. The worry over one tiny throbbing digit is making me nervous and if I can get cell service tomorrow I'll see what my options are.

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