CDT Day 75 CT Day 16

24 miles hiked, Camping @ 9675ft
It’s fear of mosquitos that finally ejects me from my cosy sleeping quilt cocoon. I want to be packed up and hiking my the time the miniature flying vampires awake, and despite ignoring my alarm for as long as possible I manage a fairly mosquito-free exit.
We have a nice couple of leg burner climbs to start the day, still winding through forest. This section of the trail is my least favourite – no views, stuck in forest all day long, narrow rocky trail, and all the bloody mozzies. I want my mountains and views back dammit.
Once at the top of our second and last real climb of the day, we yard sale everything into every little splash of sunshine we can find. I make and drink coffee, making entirely too satisfied noises as I slurp it down, then we descend 3 speedy speedy miles. Hooray for caffeine!! Zoom zoom!!
The end of this segment is marked by a highway that we cross over, and see a hiker, Scott, that passed by our yard sale this morning. He’s being picked up and has a car full of resupply so he generously offers us a gatorade and fills our water bottles! Trail magic! This is very exciting as the last water yesterday had some little floating wormies in it; I very much prefer my water worm-free.
A long slow climb follows a creek bed, then switchbacks along the side of a mountain. It’s a nice climb, despite the heat and humidity, and I’m enjoying it until I feel a little shakey and have to sit for a minute to down a larabar. The sugar hits my bloodstream and I’m back in business.
As I climb the crazy fast clouds are congregating above and starting to look a little mean. We shovel in some rehydrated beans at the top while staring at the sky, and the rumbles are getting louder and louder. Must hike! Must get in miles before the rain starts again!
Zoom zoom zoom down the otherside, then the afternoon elevation looks a lot like Oregon – flat. Today is our day for miles!
Except…
The clouds are now a deep purple above us and it starts to sprinkle. We find a completely inadequate tree to sit under and just as I park my but FLASH BOOM CLAP KABAM CRASH!!!!! Lightning strikes right in front of us and the thunder is so loud my ears are ringing for ages afterwards. We sit on our packs and hide under the tyvek while the storm dumps directly onto us. A nice serving of hail stones, followed by a side of pouring rain. We hide out for about a half hour before we brave the sprinkling rain and head out again.
Down the trail, through the trees, cross a creek, then we turn a corner and arrive at a largr meadow, just as another cloud of lovely dark blue hue is coming straight at us. We beeline for another, more adequate, tree and hide out again while the storm passes. It’s not nearly as bad this time so we timidly head out across the meadow.
The sky is dark all around us. We can’t tell which way it is coming from or moving, and it doesn’t really matter because we are surrounded.  So…We hike on.
The clouds are rumbling more as we collect water and decide to make camp at the first decent place we find, determined to set the tent up dry and not in the rain.
We managed 24 miles and got the tent up before the rain…but then lay in the tent cursing because there wasn’t that much more rain, and we could have smashed in another 4 miles. Bugger!!!
Tomorrow we have to put in a solid day to ensure we get into Lake City the following day. It’s not that many miles, but the last day hiking into Lake City is very high and exposed so we can’t be up there when the afternoon storms hit.
Early night, early wake! Goodnight!

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