It rained a lot in the night but at least it wasn’t cold, all the clouds keeping in the warm air. My tent was wet on the outside but no condensation. As I was contemplating getting up it started to rain heavily, I wasn’t going to get up while it was pouring down. I could hear the rumbles of thunder. If it came to it I would spend all day in my tent. I have enough food to see me through.
It eventually stopped raining around 10am and a call of nature forced me out of my tent. The sun even poked through the clouds for a few minutes, so by the time I packed up my tent it was only a bit damp. 3 ladies a man and their dog came by and had a chat with me. They said they remembered me passing them yesterday, one lady said she remembered my shoes, the other said she remembered the tape on my legs and the other said she remembered me because I’m really cute. She wins.
I left my camp spot at 11am, I’ll aim for 15 miles today. I won’t be doing a big day with such a late start. My shoes were still wet from yesterday but they weren’t squelching so that’s a bonus.
The first 6 miles was uphill, it started off nice and gentle and it was drizzling a bit but the trees were providing lots of protection, there were some good views and I felt like I was back in Jurassic Park with the waterfall and mountains.
The clouds looked like they were gathering. As I got higher the trees thinned out and the rain got heavier, by the time I was in a burnt area near the top I had no protection at all and I was getting soaked. The mountains I had such a good view of were now covered in cloud and I was walking through it. It was getting cold. I put my gloves on and I had in that moment never been so grateful to myself for carrying my waterproof mittens all this way, having only used them once before. Warm hands. Dry hands.
21 switchbacks got me to the top. As I reached the top of the climb the wind really picked up. Gale force winds bringing with them horizontal driving rain, the cold was threatening to creep into my bones so I was doing little jogs in the places it wasn’t rocky to try to keep warm. It was so exposed at the top there was nowhere for me to stop, no chance for me to add extra layers without getting soaked to the skin. The two miles at the top was quite unpleasant. I wanted it to rain but I didn’t want it to be sideways!
I started the next 6 miles of downhill. The rain eased and eventually stopped. I managed to add another layer and my fleece hat and started to feel better.
The sun came out for about 20 seconds and reminded me of its glorious warmth before returning to its place behind the clouds. It started drizzling again and as I rounded the corner I got a quick glimpse of a rainbow in the valley. I made it down as quick as I could, my feet were hurting from being wet all day, my shoes were squelching now.
24 switchbacks got me to the bottom. It was 1.5 miles to where I had planned to camp but it was still early so I could do 3 miles instead and get a little closer. After 1.5 miles it started to rain again, ugh not again. On the way down the mountain everything had started to dry out, well my shorts and waterproof had dried a bit, everything else was still pretty wet. But I didn’t want to get soaked again, nor did I want to set up my tent in the rain, so I abandoned my plans to go further and set up camp quickly (of course when I had finished setting up the rain stopped and I could even see a patch of blue sky). It was only 5:30pm! Plus I was starving having eaten nothing but Percy pigs since my nutritious breakfast of a cereal bar and Twix that I had in my tent this morning. I think tuna and I may have gone our separate ways. I can’t bring myself to eat it anymore.
Unfortunately the camp spot is a bit nasty. There is a fire ring here and someone has hidden all their rubbish under a rock. Seriously, whoever you are, you carried it here is it really so hard to carry it out again? There was also toilet paper scattered about and a pair of socks left on a log. In normal circumstances I would not have camped here but sometimes you’re just too tired to carry on.
I made my mountain house dinner and it started to rain again as I sat in my tent eating it. The greatest thing to happen between Britain and America is this… Dairy Milk with Oreo. I ate the whole bar. Because I can.