Mile: 952.8 - 969.1 (16.3 miles)
Around 2 am something large circles the tents. It's just checking us out but needless to say I'm desperately peering through the mesh trying to decide deer or bear. It sure sounds like a bear but after awhile it must decide we aren't interesting enough or not worth the trouble and lumbers away.
The trail is mellow and it's only a short way to the Gravel Springs Hut and a beautiful spring. Lots of people and time flies chatting with a section hiker, but it's a town day so we all get ours acts together eventually and pick up speed.
It's easy miles and eventually the trail turns to old fire road and we've officially left the National Park. The last few miles have unexpected water and the smallest climb has me hot and bothered. I'm not sure I'm ever getting used to the humidity but at least I have plenty of water to drink.
There are pretty flowers and then it's the last descent to the road along a chain link fence as houses pop into view. I'm pretty excited to get to the road, and there's even trail magic beer and a bench when we arrive.
A car pulls in and offers a ride before we had even started to hitch and we're on our way. Our ride likes to check for hikers during his lunch break and gives us a tour of the whole town before dropping us off. Food, hotel room and sleep, a good town afternoon.
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