Saturday, July 23, 2016

Day 80: this state is great

7/8: Brink Road Shelter - Unionville
Mile: 1317.8 - 1344.5 (26.7 + 1 miles)

I pack up as quietly as I can and tell Merlot the time as I start to head out. I hate waking people up even when they ask but without a watch or phone it's surprisingly disorienting. Technology is ever present out here. I end up grabbing us water one last time before heading out solo.

I'm busy hopping down the trail desperately trying to avoid stepping on all the tiny salamanders when I hear rustling. I see two younger bears and am startled to see that instead of running away they are heading right towards me. Shocked I do what you shouldn't and start running back up the trail happy to see another face rounding the corner, War Turtle. As I see the other hiker the bears make a sharp turn heading behind a hill and I'm left staring at a large mama I do don't see before. Needless to say I spend the next few miles happily hiking with War Turtle.

At the top of Sunrise Mountain is this giant pavilion. Not sure why it's here but it's an ice shady spot and even more exciting are the trash cans in the rundown parking lot below.

Partway through the day the trail passes High Point State Park Headquarters where I luckily time a break with a passing thunderstorm. There are at least 6 of us hiding out enjoying a free soda and running water. Soon enough the rain is done and we all trickle back to the trail.

High point state parks high point.

The trail changes and becomes beautiful forest, old rock walls and soft ground. I love this area.

The trail enters farmland and it just makes the day better. I really like this stretch. Plus I get to see about a million rabbits while I snack on berries.

Then it's on to boardwalks and swampland, and even this is pretty. But it is a very hot day and I'm constantly reminded that heat and humidity are not my friend.

It's so very hot and heat rash and chafe are not my friends but I decide it's worth it to push a little farther and head a short way off trail to the town of Unionville. It's a great choice. I collapse on the porch of the general store enjoying a cold drink and resupplying. I wait to long and just before dark the rain that has been threatening all afternoon hits.

While it pours I end up eating dinner with a few other hikers before finally setting up my tent in the dark. The town lets hikers camp for free in the park and there are at least a dozen. It's a great day and one of my favorite dinners on trail.

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