Highest Elevation – 3737, Big Cedar Mountain
Lowest Elevation – 2589, Justus Creek
Mileage – 10.28
Tuesday was another nice day. My legs still felt pretty good, I didn’t feel worn out or tired. The ground was still hard, but I did sleep a little bit better the night before. We got up and tried to get going quickly to be one of the first groups to leave. Jared had talked to most of the groups, and everyone was planning to stop at the same camping location that night. Each spot along the trail that has camping only has so many spots, so if it’s full you have to keep walking until the next spot or try to find a place along the trail to pitch your tent. We got out ahead of a bunch of people and passed a few other groups along the way.
There were parts of the trail that felt more like Wisconsin, not too hilly and flatter. We went pretty fast at times. We did slow down at the steep climbs, but by now I was starting to get used to the climb. It’s not like it got easier to hike up a mountain, it got more bearable. I felt really tired at times and had sweat pouring down my face, but I just kept going. We had some nice views on top of the mountains. One of the larger mountains we climbed was called Big Cedar Mountain, with an elevation of 3737 feet. There were a few more day hikers in areas that had points of interest, like Preacher’s Rock, which is an overlook near the top of Big Cedar Mountain. It’s interesting now to look at the trail on Google Maps because you can see all the switchbacks that are on the trail when going up the mountain. You would be going along and think you’re at the top, and then realize that nope, you’re just at the end of a switch back and you need to keep going up on another switchback.
We arrived at our camp site that day around 3:15, which was pretty early compared to the other two days. We had plenty of time to get set up and sit around and relax. We even had time to play Rummy 500! It took awhile to figure out the rules so that we were playing the same way. That was the only time we used the cards though, so in the future I don’t think I would bring them again.
It was a good thing we arrived early because many people were looking to stay in the same area. There was only one other group there ahead of us, and as time went on more and more people came looking for a place to stay. We met some interesting people, including a guy who was living off the land and went hunting for grubs. He found 6 bugs and that was the only thing we saw him eat that night. There was a 10 year old boy who had given himself the trail name “Smalls” because he was the youngest person he knew on the trail at that time. He was an interesting kid, he seemed older than he really was and he was pretty talkative.
During the middle of the night, a plane flew very low and scared the crap out of me. I felt as though it was going to shine its lights down and was looking for something. My disoriented mind also wondered if someone had escaped from jail or if it really were a space ship.