Day 11 July 5

The alarm went off at 6:45am and I started to pack up as quietly as I could. I headed upstairs for breakfast and coffee. The hostel sadly did not provide breakfast but I had plenty of food I needed to eat.

A little past 7:30am we all piled into Dawson’s car and he took us to the trailhead. Kelly, Dine and Dash, Professor, and I got out of the car and grabbed our things. We passed the girls, who were camped at the parking lot. Professor led the way, D & D next, me, and then Kelly. The trail was moderate in grade and we were able to quickly make the miles. I soon lost Kelly and the guys and was wondering down the trail solo. I often like to hike solo in the morning to allow my thoughts to flow freely. The only thing I really thought about was what to do after the trail in a August. 

Before I knew it, we were climbing to the top of the ridge. It was a 9ish mile climb. I followed behind Dine and Dash, soaking in all the views. I had to stop occasionally to breathe but not as bad as the days before. I was getting stronger. I walked by a couple with a dog, who were grabbing water, and it aggressively barked at me. The owners apologized as I walked on.

The gang reconnected at the top to take a snack break and we were assaulted by mosquitos. Professor and I had a bit of a misunderstanding when I gave some sass. We met back up at a beautiful lake and talked it out. It was down hill for a few miles until the next saddle. I met Dine and Dash up at the top as a dark cloud was looming behind us. Professor showed up and we sat for a few with a father/son hiking duo.

It was downhill for a bit. Dine and Dash took the lead downhill, followed by me, and the Professor. I walked much faster like I was chasing him. We reconvened at a water source. 

Afterwards, Dine and Dash pulled ahead. Professor and I had a quick chat about how we were feeling about our hike thus far. We had great communication in the beginning, in towns we kind of did our own things but we both agreed we weren’t stopping to appreciate the beauty like we were previously. If we saw a great camp spot, we wanted to stop and take it. Professor hadn’t eaten lunch and before our last big climb for the day, I suggested we stop at the next water source. I started to feel a strong sense of compassion for him because we were in this together and needed to be mindful of each other’s needs.

I left our lunch spot a few minutes earlier than him. He told me he would pass me on the up and give my a nice teammate comment. He was faster on the ups but I was also getting stronger. He never ended up passing me. It was a steep climb to the top as I was trying to outrun a storm. 

I caught up with Dine and Dash once over the climb and we walked the next mile and half together. Until I let him pull forward, worried about Professor making it over before the storm. 

It was downhill to camp. 19.9 miles and I spotted Dine and Dash and camp. Professor came down shortly after as we were each setting up our tents. I filtered water, snacked, stretched, and listened to D & D play the ukulele. Tim walked by to keep moving despite his legs hurting. He shared Sunny was behind him a ways. Kelly and Brandon joined in at camp too.

Dine and Dash joined me in my tent with his air pad and ukulele to teach me play. It started to rain lightly as I was about to make dinner.