July 8: Nothing like camping near a rest area so you can use the bathrooms in the morning. I washed up, brushed my teeth in a sink, used the toilet, and charged up the electronics before heading out! I also talked to a woman and her son about thru hiking and quite possibly planted the seed for a future thru hiker. 😋
The morning started out nice- sunny, clear, and in the low 70s- perfect for hiking! And the views were wonderful.
I met Subway, a woman in her late 50s who had stayed near one of the only shelters on trail last night, about 2 miles past me. We hiked along, trading trail stories and enjoying the wildflowers.
This section reminded me of theNorth Carolina section of the AT near Max Patch- it meandered over treeless summits with views from all directions. Our views started to be of ominous clouds rolling in!
It started out as gentle rain- no big deal. Just put on your pack cover. Then the rain got harder. Still no biggie- put on a rain jacket. But soon it had descended into a driving, sideways rain with wind and temperatures dropping to the 50s. Thunder and lightening were booming and flashing and we were running to try to get off of those treeless sections to something more protected.
I found a nice sheltered campsite near a spring for lunch. Subway and I ate- she bemoaning how her solar charger was useless today- and the rain started to dissipate. And off we went again!
The lull in the weather did not last long, though. Soon the rain and wind returned and with it- hail! Big dime sized chunks falling like BBs. You know what? Hail hurts!
Around 5, we came to another spring- fed creek- Mules Ear Creek- with a nearby campsite. The weather had broken again and we could get some water without being pelted.
Subway and I decided to stop here even though here was hours of daylight left. The temperature had dropped quite a bit and my pack cover had slipped off the bottom of my pack. We used the extra time at camp to put on warm layers and dry everything out. We were joined by a German couple later on. And I waved to Prickly Pear, Queen Bee, and Baby Eater as they pushed on. Good to be in the sleeping bag early- it was a cold one!!