Mile: 969.1 - 995.9 (26.9 miles)
Microwave burritos, cheap motel coffee and a banana have me ready for the trail. Three of us end up hitching back and we shortly have a pickup truck ride heading our direction. Then it's back to business. It's all green and so much cooler under the canopy.
The Jim and Molly Denton Shelter is so nice you have to take a break there, solar shower, a pavilion, even a horseshoe court.
After second breakfast and idle chitchat it's back to mellow terrain. Some surprisingly open sunny spots and flowers are a nice treat.
Crossing under a freeway and finding the trail near a parking lot it's more nice surprises, trail magic! This day is full of unexpected breaks.
The storm seems to have knocked a lot of trees down, it's the most blowdowns I've seen this whole trail. Nothing compared to the other trails but a lot for me out here. The trail maintenance on the AT is pretty superb.
Widow makers aren't as annoying as climbing over poison ivy covered blowdowns but they are fun to stare at.
The terrain changes and I feel like I'm on a ridge top but in a literal ivy covered tunnel. There are flowers everywhere that smell like jasmine and a little spring hidden in the grass. All in all totally different and kind of magical feeling.
The trail crosses through an amazingly signed and nice state park. It's short but pretty neat.
Then back to covered forest and finally towards the end of the day the much hyped "roller coaster." A section of trail proclaiming its difficulty with this lovely sign.
The hills seen just like the normal rollers but since it has a name everyone talks about it. On the second climb Rest Stop sees a large bear and seconds later a second one.
2 adult bears during mating season are just as bad as a mama and cubs according to a recent ranger chat so we don't stick around. It's a little early but with nice dirt campsites and a large creek at the base of another mile or do if climbing to a road Ashby Hollow seems like the perfect home for the night.
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