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[at-l] Ready's Journal: June 24 Sunday TD 19

>It was late by the time we woke up.  A long hiking day had made us plenty 
>tired. My legs were showing signs of the effort. They were tight, but 
>surprisingly, neither my legs nor my feet hurt.
>We had breakfast and packed up camp at a leisurely pace, then hit the 
>trail with the same easy manner.  It was after 10:30 by the time we were 
>back on the trail from the long climb out of the shelter.
>It was warmer than it had been the previous day, but not nearly so 
>humid.  The sky was blue, the birds were singing, and we felt strong.
>We hiked the 3.5 miles into Calednia State Park in a little under 1.5 
>hours, maintaining an easy pace the whole time.  At the park, we 
>immediately ran into Lucky Strike, pausing after only a brief 
>conversation.  There were cold drinks and fast food at the park, you see.
>Spur ordered a cheeseburger, a rasberry milkshake, a large coke, and drank 
>1/2 of a fruit smoothie that I had ordered. I also ate a soft pretzel, 
>loaded up with mustard! Yum! 'Seems his thruhiker appetite has hit full 
>throttle, while I'm still waiting for mine to kick in. Strange but, each 
>day, I'll eat a candybar/powerbar snack or two, sharing them with him, and 
>he can eat many candybars in a single day!
>I was most impressed with all the pines and hemlocks we passed today. 
>There were also many archways of rhododendron providing shady, cool 
>"tunnels" through which to walk.  Frequently we found idylic scenes.
>We passed massive rock piles - one in particular caught our 
>imagnations.  The massive structure, some 30' high, seemed to be molten, 
>the layers melting like frosting on a cake left out in the heat. We dubbed 
>the structure, "Rufus Rock," since it evoked the image of that laconic 
>trail dog traveling with Fruitpie.  Rufus is part Sharpe and part 
>Chocolate Lab.
>We laughed a lot today, making silly jokes and recounting funny 
>tales.  The leisurely pace we'd been keeping made us feel like it was a 
>"vacation day."
>We stopped at the Quarry Gap Shelter.  This twin-building shelter, with 
>high ceilings and great light - thanks to a huge skylight, is joined by an 
>airy porch on which one can sit at a picnic table and enjoy a pleasant 
>view.  A little rock lined creek meanders in front of the shelter.
>The "innkeeper," Jim Strauch was there when we arrived, and told us that 
>the creek is really lovely in early spring, but only after a large 
>rainstorm would water flow in it once it gets as late as June.  He also 
>described his work with the PATC and how this shelter had been his design! 
>Leopard was there at the shelter when we arrived. He joined in the 
>conversain only briefy and then moved on.  Leopard is very quiet. We had 
>discovered however, that he seems to enjoy expressing himself in the log 
>boks via poetry.  Very lyrical and openly pensive entries.  We'll be 
>looking forward to reading them as we hike. I'll copy and share some with 
>you down the line.
>We leapfrogged with Lucky Strike and Leopard throughout the day, meeting 
>both of them at a PATC cabin just about 3 miles shy of our target shelter: 
>Birch Run Shelter.
>As we hiked up the final climb to our day's destination, Spur literally 
>galloped up the steep hill - filled with energy and exuberence.  Although 
>I too was feeling light-hearted, my feet and legs were not, and so I 
>slogged up after him.
>We made it into the campsite earlier than we'd expected, and almost 
>immediately found the most serene tentsite next to a clear, babbling 
>brook.  We made camp, prepared and ate supper (spaghetti), journaled and 
>were asleep by 9:30.
>Tomorrow will be an easy 10 miles to the Iron Master's hostel (where Spur 
>and I first met) where We'll enjoy more "vacation" time.

note from k....hehehehe.....another Ruck romance woohoo!