Friday, May 22, 2015

Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail - A Thru Hike (Day 5)

LHHT Day 5
1. Date: 5/7/15
2. Day 5
3. Morning temp: 59. Later 85
4. Weather: Cool, clear, followed by sunny and hot.
5. Time start: 0705
6. Time stop and miles: 1428. 11.4
7. End point: Ohiopyle Shelter
8. Events: owl, bird chase

Log: Up before six and on trail a little after seven. Day grew hot fast, but water was plentiful. The long downhill into the shelter was a killer. Tomorrow we finish.

Another cool morning greeted us as I rolled out of my bag and started the day.  It was clear above and I was on the trail a little after seven.  Today was a "shorter" day of about 12 miles and the start was good.  

As I started out, the trail followed along a small stream for a while where this cool little falls could be heard quite a ways off.  I was making my way up the hill when a really cool thing happened.  A small bird came flying down the trail and passed me at about knee height.  It was really quick, but I could feel it alter its course enough to avoid me and my trekking pole.  Withing a fraction of a second, a second bird came by, hot on the first birds tail.  It all happened in the span on about a half of a second, but it was still pretty cool.  I'm guessing bird #2 was chasing some tail, literally.  

Small falls
Once again, I came upon a fossil stone in the trail. 

Fossil 
I was drinking lots of water again today as we passed some good streams and was drinking my fill and filling up as much as I could.  I always feel better when I'm well hydrated.  It makes everything go easier.  The evening before I had run out of Part A of my Aqua-Mira, but still had plenty of Part B.  I'm not sure how that happened other than maybe not closing the lid a while back and had some leakage, but KJ had two sets and gave me some of his Part A, but today I started using my Sawyer Mini Filter on my Smart Water bottle and it was working pretty good.  The filter is nice as you can drink immediately and don't have to mix chemicals and wait the proper times to mix and drink.  I'm glad I carry both, so I can adjust to the situation at hand and will probably continue to do so.  

Only 15 miles left
Logged area
After passing this sign, we walked past a logged out area.  The heavy machinery was long gone and the logged forest didn't look too bad.  They had left a lot of mature trees and it looked very "park" like as we skirted the edge of the area.  Careful, controlled logging can be a good thing for a forest.


Water and rest stop

After lunch we started our 1400 foot elevation loss.  It was a pretty steep going down, but we just carefully made our down over about three miles.  As we got lower, spring started to pop.  Earlier in the hike, the May apples are just spreading their leaves.  Here, they already had their little fruit.  It was an interesting transformation that elevation change does to the ridges. 
If this isn't fair weather, I don't know what is...
Once again we arrived at the Shelter turn off.  This would be our last night on the trail and our shelter #3 was waiting for us as usual.  We crossed the creek, which was running very well, and climbed up the bank to find our shelter.  We set to doing our usual end of day chores and my food bag was getting pretty empty, just as I had planned it.

For most of my hikes I have had a lot of food left over at the end of the hike, but I had been concentrating on planning my meals better, taking into account my lower appetite when a hikes starts out, but I was starting to get the hunger now.  I ate my last Mountain House meal and it was good.  All I had left was breakfast, some powdered milk and a jelly packet.  Perfect.


Ohiopyle Shelters - #3 Shelter, our home for the night
As I lay on my sleeping pad and looked out into the forest, I noticed how that elevation change had changed the forest.  The trees were more fully leafed out here and everything was much greener.  It was a welcome transformation.

It got green after dropping 1400 feet
My tapped up feet were still doing fine.  The KT tape was easily lasting three days at a time (which is good, because that shit ain't cheap) and my two little toe blisters had stayed small and weren't causing me any trouble while walking.  The toe socks had helped tremendously and I was glad I had them.  


Tape works

Recommended by KJ
I do carry some "useless" stuff, like this little guy here.  I found him in my back yard and have no idea where he came from as there are no little kids on that side of my house, but he now rides on my pack to greet all who come by.  I'm still trying to figure out where he comes from.  There is a logo on his shoulder that looks like a J and a P.  It is still a mystery to me.

The useless, (but meaningful) shit I carry. 
After a final pleasant fire in the shelter, it was time once again to slumber through the night.  I tried some things with my failing sleeping pad, but none of them worked, but I slept good enough.  
This... is... the... life...
We had only six miles of trail left and would finish on the morn.  This was a very short Thru Hike, but a very cool one also.  I was feeling great, my feet were no longer aching at the end of the day and I felt as if I was already hitting a decent stride.  If there were more miles to hike and more time to hike them, I was up for that, but duty was calling and it would soon be time for me to get back to work.  

Tomorrow we would finish...

Day 1 - Day 2 - Day 3 - Day 4 - Day 5 - Day 6



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