August 20th 2018
Piazza Rock Lean-to – Spaulding Mountain Lean-to (mile 1989.2)
16.9 miles
Total miles: 2015.1

9.5 hours sleep. Wow. I woke up without feeling like I could sleep for another week and my body wasn’t in pain. It was wonderful. As part of the deal of having to walk to the shelter in the dark last night we agreed to have a lie in. We didn’t get up until 7:30am and we left the shelter just after 8am. 


The first part of the day was a climb up to Saddleback Mountain. The climb was not so bad as they have been, but there were giant slabs of steep rock to walk up and my calf muscles were burning. Peaches stopped to filter water and my speed from yesterday had deserted me and soon enough she passed me and we resumed our rightful places. Me at the back. 

I wasn’t too worried about it today because we didn’t have too many miles to do, so going slowly was an option. Soon I got above the tree line and it was awesome. So many views all around. There was a bit of weather in the distance but it was being blown away from us. The walk up to the summit was actually quite nice. The steepness chilled out a bit and we were walking over big slabs of granite. There were several false summits but it was easy for me to spot the real one because the others were up there already waiting. 


We sat up there for a while enjoying the views and snacking. Then it was time to carry on and the way down was steep and rocky, of course it was! And then it was steep and rocky on the way up to The Horn. It was really nice to be above the trees though. We stuck together which was nice.  Another steep rocky descent followed by a steep rocky ascent took us up to Saddleback Junior and then we began the long decent to Orbeton Stream. The way down was steep in parts but mostly covered with tree roots and mud patches, nowhere near as bad as the patches of bog from yesterday. There were lots of slips and trips and Jukebox made a couple of spectacular falls and I am so surprised that she remained upright for each of them. 


This type of stuff is so mentally exhausting as I fear with every step that I will break something. Peaches had slowed her pace and I was in the middle which meant we all stuck together. We hadn’t seen that many people today, we crossed paths with Stretch a few times but we hadn’t seen many others on the trail. We decided to use Peaches speaker and listen to some music. We had a good 80s playlist going and we used it to distract ourselves from the mundaneness of the trail. It was all tree roots and mud. 

The stream was a big one and there were a series of rocks to hop over on. Some of them were a stretch but we all made it without falling in. I didn’t take too many photos today, it’s difficult when we are all hiking together because if I’m at the back and I stop to take a photo then I get left behind and if I’m in the middle I break the momentum! 

After crossing the stream we started the last big climb of the day. The first part, after climbing a vertical wall of rock, was about a mile and a half of gradual uphill. It was ok and we were maintaining a decent pace. A slow one in Peaches terms but we were all still sticking together. Then came about half a mile of flattish stuff, avoiding mud and bog board and still a lot of tree roots. We started to see a lot more people and we kept turning the music off and on, not that I think any of the people we came across would have been bothered by the music but you just never know. Then came another mile of uphill and that mile nearly killed me. The humidity had just increased to about 100%. I had been sweating a bit today, even on the downhills because they take so much concentration, but this was something else. It was rolling off my face and I even had sweaty arms and legs. I had a drop roll down my leg and create a path through the dirt. We had been going for 8 miles without stopping now and I was really starting to feel it. I desperately wanted to take a break and just cool down a bit but I looked at the gps and we had 0.3 to the top. Longest 0.3 of my life. 

I was sweating so much and I was getting slower and slower. Finally the top came and I collapsed and drank the rest of my water. I was so wet and my top was soaked that I cooled down incredibly quickly and soon began to shiver. It was crazy how quickly you can go from being hotter than the sun to freezing cold. Jukebox carried on because she needed to release the hostages, but Peaches stayed with me. She was cold too so we moved on and hiked the 2 miles to the shelter which were nice and flatish, but still so many tree roots. 


It was only 5:30pm when we got there and Jukebox suggested going another 3 miles. We only have 13 miles to do tomorrow to get to town and we will be there nice an early anyway. I would rather spend that extra time hanging out on the trail rather than rushing to get to town where we will all just spend our time on our devices anyway. Stretch was camped here and another guy called Hard Hat and Stripes came in later. It’s nice to hang out at a shelter or on the trail. In every day life you can hang out in town whenever you want. 

So we stayed and leisurely set up and ate dinner. We are the only three in the shelter. The others are all camping. For dinner I ate a packet of salmon, a giant slim Jim, a cheese string, three quarters of a packet of tortilla chips and some candy. It is the most I have eaten for dinner in a long time! 


Then peaches had packed out hot chocolate for us all and it was so nice to have a hot drink because it was pretty chilly tonight. It actually probably wasn’t that cold but being sweaty makes you feel the cold more. 

In the shelter we are on a slope so I’m not sure how comfortable the night will be! 

Watch the video!

For this trip I made a daily video diary which you can watch here: DAY 104