(The pictures are much more nicely organized because I’m getting to use an actual computer for a little bit. I’ve also added buttons for navigating back and forth through posts. Hopefully I can do this more often.)
May 2, 2017
I don’t think today could have gotten much better. Woke up and it was still windy but not overly cold. A few short miles later and we entered the grasslands where ponies roam wild. Now, I say wild, but these horses are used to hikers and were plenty friendly (so long as you don’t try to ride them). This is Cinnamon, my new friend. She loves anything sweet or salty, including where I hold my walking stick.
With much reluctance, I left little Cinnamon behind to continue my trek. I was walking through a forested section of the trail when another pony barged through, causing me to have to move out-of-the-way. Apparently, he had somewhere important to be. The landscape around here is so much different from any other part of the trail that I’ve seen so far and there were a ton of rock outcroppings that were begging to be climbed. I had to pass on most due to time restraints but I indulged a few times and was rewarded to beautiful views. The ponies were still the most distracting feature of the day, though, and we even saw a young foal.
I almost missed Fatman Squeeze (a rock tunnel) and didn’t even know that I went through it until later. It just looked like a fun place to hike through. We passed mile 500 and stopped at Wise Shelter for lunch. There were four ponies just hanging out at the shelter looking for handouts. Well, three were looking for handouts, the fourth was feeling amorous and looking for a little romance from the mares (they were not amused). This was also the first time that I’ve felt any need to filter my water. The rest of the day was taken pretty easily although I did have to rest a few times due to my heavy pack. My shoes are also starting to wear a little thin but they’ve come pretty far.
There were so many beautiful camping options along the way but the mileage would’ve been short and the wind is still blowing pretty hard so we pushed on to Hurricane Mtn Shelter. 24 miles hiked today. BOOYAH! I’m pooped…