We started the day’s journey late this morning. It was about 9am. We found a water source (stream) about a mile from the shelter, which was great. We cleaned last nights dinner dishes and filled our water bottles. We found another message for Tiny Turtle, which was a turtle made from rocks and TT beside it out of sticks. We love seeing the messages like this because it motivates Tiny Turtle and puts him in an even better mood!
Today was a hard day for me personally. I had no motivation to move further on the trail and my right knee into my calf is swelling and hurts. I stayed optimistic (more quiet) because when 1 person in the group is in a bad mood then it spreads through the group! When everyone is unhappy then it’s a horrible day!
We stopped at a gorgeous overlook and had lunch. We made potatoes and sausage, which was very good. After lunch we laid on the rock soaking up the sun for about half an hour. We were all moving slowly today. Tiny Turtle was complaining he was bored, so we starting quizzing him. We quizzed him over fires, movies, spelling words, and other fun facts. It kept him moving.
We finally reached Minerva Hinchey Shelter. Shaggy left us a motivational message in the log book. It’s great to have such wonderful people on the trail with us. We saw Shivers there and another hiker. The “other” hiker there gave us a bad vibe. This is the first time on the trail we ever had a bad feeling. He left shortly after we arrived.
Diago came to the shelter shortly after us. He had such a high on life attitude. It was great. He was southbound and just full of energy. He told us about what to expect as we head north. He told us just stay focused and one step at a time. It’s funny how you just run into these people like Diago and things suddenly seem better. I felt more like pressing north after hearing what lies ahead.
The trail wasn’t too bad. The usual ups and downs but subtle. We came to the suspension bridge over Clarendon Gorge. It looked like a great place to swim! We wanted to but we were heading to the Whistle Stop to get something to eat. We made it to the parking lot where we found out the Whistle Stop closed at 4! Bummer! There were several hikers sad about that. Later we found out that this was their last season open for business.
We went across the 103 and continued on the trail towards Clarendon Shelter. It was only about another mile but it was rough! The entire way was a strenuous and steep incline climbing over boulders and up rocks. The kids do amazing. They climb faster and are barely breathing hard. On the other hand, us adult hikers are huffing and puffing. I will say this trip is getting us in better shape but I feel like it’s breaking us down first!
We made it to Clariden Shelter! It’s a nice shelter with four bunks, fire pit, and benches around the fire pit. The water source is a nice stream that just sounded so inviting and peaceful. We decided to set up our tents by the stream instead of sleeping in the shelter. We seem to get a better rest that way plus it gives us a little privacy when changing clothes and things.
We had a great group of hikers with us this evening. Of course we had our awesome friend Dabba Do! Some Guy (yes that is his trail name) hiked from the shelter we stayed in last night, into the nearest town, and to this shelter to bring more chocolate for smores for us!! He did over 20 miles just to make that happen. Dreamer was thrilled as Hershey’s are her favorite. We met a new hiker named Doc Holiday this evening! She is another interesting hiker. She is out doing the trail alone, which is brave. She is going northbound but switching to southbound in order to meet family. She learned about popping popcorn on an open fire tonight, which amazed her. We ended up with 12 hikers at the shelter, a dad with his 3 young boys camping, and a small scout group camping. We had a good night around the fire with great conversations. We talked about what we miss from home and a peaceful sleep.