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Begins: Jun 3, 2009
Date: Fri, Jun 5th, 2009
Start: Between Leota and Elk Creek
End: Delaney Park
Daily Distance: 17
Trip Distance: 45.5
Entry Visits: 156
Journal Visits: 2,935
Guestbook Views: 59
Guestbook Entrys: 1
Done. Faster than expected...much faster in fact. We finished around 10pm last night (Postholer won't let you have two entries with the same date), funny thing was that we got to the camp at almost the same time as Neva did!
We got a good start today, no waiting for the rain. My tent stakes held all night. The spot ended up being gorgeous by the day-light. It was nestled into the crook of a stream, and didn't seem to have been camped on before. I feel bad that we were camped so close to the trail (one of my guy-lines actually was staked down in the trail). The ground was soft. The place was quiet. The morning was good.
We even started a bit before breakfast and hiked to the top of the next hill before having a break. I don't know what I think about the whole hike-then-eat thing. I like the dinner side of it, but I'm not sure I'm so keen on the breakfast side. We didn't make it far before I was hungry, so it was a short trip after packing things up before some of them had to unpack a bit again.
We made it to our last water cache around 4pm. As we hiked around Elk Lake, I decided I had plenty of water and dropped all but 3 liters. That made hiking smooth and fun again. The light pack makes all the difference, its got me more determined to get my base-weight lower. We hung out at the last drop site for a little while and then decided to get rid of all of our trash in bags, leaving them for Neva to pick up. I put 3 liters of water in my bladder again, and we decided to try to push to the end.
We saw a wonderful camping spot near milepost 40. If I come back, that would be a nice place to just do a quick trip from the rode above. After that spot, the next few miles were miserable because we forced to hike on a road. We were routed around some logging where the trail normally goes. It was annoying, and its why we're not sure how far we went. Also, the roads do not clearly match the map...so we were a bit surprised when we reached the spot where the trail meets the road.
We did not see anybody the entire trail until the last half-mile. Then we had a short chat with some folks (from near Memphis, IN...where the trail starts) who could not believe how far we had hiked. They asked "How far does this trail go." The answer was "Somewhere between 2 and 50 miles, depending on how many right-turns you make." It was a nice chat. From there, we walked to the campsite. We walked in to camp as Neva was pulling up from checking the last water-drop (and picking up our trash). Dinner was ready, tents were pitched and showers were just around corner. It was good to be back.
-Joseph A. Cottam
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