So smokey was up and gone before I had even opened my eyes! We left camp at at around 7am. It was 12 miles to the road and we were hoping legend might be there. 

 

We played games all morning and after 8 miles got water and had some food because I was starving. The whole day was up and down, five and a half thousand feet of elevation gain and five and a half thousand feet of elevation loss over the day. 

    

4 more mile to the road and…there was no one there. So, we carried on, up a big exposed climb that was really hot. And I ran out of water. Cool breeze shared his but that was soon gone too. We had 5 miles until the next water. When we were half a mile away we saw and heard the cows and their bells. My first thought was for my precious water, if there was any evidence of cow in the water I would be most displeased! We saw Smokey sat in the shade, got some (cow free) water and sat and had a chat. That afternoon we would come across many streams with great water. 

        

We saw Smokey again down the trail collecting water, we moved on through the gentle rolling trail that contoured the mountains. We stopped to get water, Smokey caught up. That’s how it is on the trail. We then had a big climb which we could see in front of us. Through the burn area so no shade. 

    

There was the distant sound of thunder and we could see a storm rolling in behind us. Around the corner we were greeted with another long uphill trail. We continued on through the forest. 

  

We came across a group of young girls who asked us where we were hiking to. We said Canada and they were incredulous. Maybe we have planted a seed in one of them and they may take on the trail someday. 

More and more uphill that seemed to go on forever. Burnt trees and rumbles of thunder. Were we walking toward the storm or away from it? 

At the top of the hill we saw a rainbow peaking through the clouds. A huge bolt of lightening came down and struck the ground and it didn’t look very far away. We needed to get off the exposed rocky ridge so we hurried down to our intended camp site just off the trail at Paynes lake. 

  

The lake was beautiful and completely hidden from the trail. We set up camp and had a delicious noodle dinner. 

  

We noticed a deer roaming around so we made sure everything was completely tucked away tonight. My pee rag already has about 13 holes in it! A really dirty dusty day on the trail. 26 miles. It has been warm and dry for a while so I have been sleeping without the fly on my tent. I fall asleep gazing up at the stars. 

    

Tomorrow we go to Etna to resupply our food.  

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