Before Cripple Creek (802.3)
Day 62 (6/11/19)
Miles – 22.6
Total miles – 837.3
Our ride back to the trail was coming at 7:30, so we were up and moving a little after 6:00. All those last minute things take time, so we were a bit rushed when the taxi arrived 10 minutes early. We quickly got our packs closed and out to the car. With one last look about the room, we were off. We were miles out of town when Mama Raven remembered the sandwich meat and cheese in the frig. Well we weren’t going back for it! Instead of ham and cheese sandwiches,we will have Nutella sandwiches.
Our hiking started out with a steep up, 2,700′ in 4 miles. A clear blue sky was overhead, although the air was cold with a strong wind blowing. The steep climb warmed us up. After a few hours, we reached the top of Bald Knob. A clear grassy area with views in almost every direction. This was the first time in many days we were able to see anything because of the thick, gloomy, rain clouds surrounding us. There rest of the day was uneventful. We hiked on a ridge top with very little change in altitude. At one small gap, we came across an old apple tree, with small unripe apples. We had heard that we would see apple trees along the way, but this was our first. Around 6:30 we stopped for dinner. Then we hiked past Priest Shelter and on to the top of Priest Mountain. The kids did not stop at the top like they were told but instead started down the other side. This was a very big down on a steep mountain side. Camp spots would be very limited. We ended up walking a mile down before we found a possible place to camp. It was not level and filled with roots and rocks. Since it was nearly dark and unknown when we would find a better location, we set up camp. The bottom was still miles away. Tomorrow’s forecast is cloudy and chance of rain in the evening. We hope the forecast is wrong because hiking today without rain was blissful! There is nothing we can do about the weather, nonetheless the rain is mentally hard to deal with day after day. The AT gets a lot of rain and the shelters help with the weather issues. We do not use them and have been told it is foolish not to. We are not use to shelters. On the other long trails we have hiked, they do not exist. We see that shelters can be valuable when weather is bad. Tents do not get wet. No condensation issues. However shelters fill up, especially on rainy days. There is limited space in them thus hikers have to claim a spot early on. We like to keep hiking later in the day and do not want to quit early. Thus we do not use shelters the way many hikers do on the AT. We pitch tents in the rain, and we take down in the rain. Yes, we get wet! That is how the Ravens hike. We are not the only ones that do not take advantage of the shelters, but we are a minority.