Everything is drying out. We had a rainy breakfast but the fog lifted and the sun came out. We hit the trail around 9:30 and walked the shoulder of a mountain and had a nice view of the valley and mountains for the first time. Had a few climbs: Sassafrass Mtn and Justis were both challenging, but spirits were high and the miles went by quickly. We blew down the north side of Ol' Sassy and jumped over Cooper Gap and owned Justis. We dried out gear and tents in the sun on top of Justis, but folks were out of water and some crankiness was beginning to seep into the mix. From the elevation profile (We're using the ATC maps) it looked like we needed to climb Phylis Mtn next, on the way down to Justis Creek. However, we had a nice surprise--the trail was a gentle meandering grade down to the creek. No climb!
Justis Creek really is a marvel. It's wide and shady. The girls took off their shoes and played in the creek for a long time. They found a 'tiny lobster' (crawdad) and saw salamanders and tried to catch some water-striders with no luck. Water bottles were filled, morale soared once again.
Out of Justis Creek we hiked up a short grade (1/2 mile) and then it was flat the rest of the way to the Gooch Gap Shelter. This place is packed full. The shelter is on a hill and there are very few flat tent sites. We're all on a slope just below the shelter. We can hear all the shelter-goings-on. Tall tales! Bad choices! Swear words!
We had our GadoGado Ramen for dinner. The girls give it an enthusiastic Thumbs Up! "Thbhitthhh itthhhh gohhwhhhoodd" says Mo with her mouth full.
Pictures! (I thought I had pictures of Justis Creek, but I don't. Maybe they're on the Other Camera?)
|Our mudpuddle camp at Hawk Mountain|
|The sun comes out!|
|Packing wet tents :(|
|Hill camp at Gooch Gap|
|You know, hangin' out.|
|And finally, Bert's shoulder catches on fire. Alarming!|