The Long Trail Day 27by cyberhiker01 on 07/01/14
Woke up this am and it was warm-- much warmer than it had been. That, however, was not a good thing. I needed for Tennille to do high miles for at least one day during this final stretch, and with it being so hot, it was not the ideal day. After reviewing the trail data, I nothiced that the shelter spacing in this section had larger gaps. Hopefully, this meant the tr=errain would be a bit easier. Relying on experience, intuition, and whole lot of luck, I decided to push for 15 miles. That would mean being able to get our ride at the end of the trail-- I was betting my hotel reservation and flight on us being able to go the distance. Those had already been purchased earlier in the day. We left early, hoping to get some good miles in before it got too hot. The first 4 miles I knew should have been somewhat mellow because we were going toward a road and a river, which are always down low. What I didn't count on was that signage in this section has become very minimal, making it difficult to find our way. Luckily, a guy stopped at the shelter last night, and he was doing high miles. Early in the day he caught and passed us. This was good news, as I hoped Tennille had picked up his scent and would follow. The terrain wasn't steep or rocky, which was good, because I have both a sore knee and wrist from a fall the other day. Tennille also needed a break from the climbing. She led the way, which was good because most of the day I had little to no idea where I actually was. The few hard markers we had (streams, ledges) and a single shelter were few and far between, and most weren't associated with any specific mileage. So, even though the terrain was more gentle, this actually proved to be one of the most difficult to negotiate. At the end of the day, it became incredibly hot, and my trusty phone told me it was between 85-90 degrees, and VERY humid. Toward the latter part of the day, we had a 1000-1500 foot climb. With the heat and the added miles I was asking Tennille to do, we had to stop many times. With the increased frequency and duration of the stops, I began to wonder if we would be able to make it to the shelter. Thankfully, once we reached the top of Laraway Mountain, Tennille go a much needed second wind and began hiking with a purpose. We covered the last 3 miles in near-record time and found a really sweet camp spot. I couldn't be more proud of Tennille. The day was hers, both physically and mentally. We are looking to a slightly shorter day tomorrow.