Will be posted when signal.
It was quiet on the trail today – saw only one thru-hiker and three casual hikers, one bear and one bear cub.
It is quiet because most of the youngsters are heading to Damascus, where the Trail Days (hiking) festival is being held (Fri-Sun). The main theme is hiking with thru-hikers apparently having VIP status getting free meals, medical check-ups, laundry done, tents cleaned, gear repaired, etc. All for free. The festival is not really only for hikers – it’s a big event with music, market stalls and food stalls and attended by around 20 thousand people ready to party. Damascus can at most sleep 100 people so there is a “tent city” area where everybody pitches their tents. It sounds a bit like Splashy Fenn.
Young people arrange shuttles to pick them up from trail heads all around to get to Damascus and will then on Sunday return to where they left the trail.
We decided we are too old for this. If we were in Damascus anyway we would have gone but we aren’t going to shuttle back to attend.
So back to today. We started off in unexpected rain. Luckily it was a gentle rain and there wasn’t any wind so we didn’t get too wet.
Just as we got to the top of our first 3 hour climb of the day and exited the green tunnel we had some sunshine and views.
We took a break at the top and Trevor tried to dry out his socks a bit. Then we went back into the green tunnel and started going down the mountain.
We have been walking less than 5 mins when I suddenly saw a big brown furry animal scurry away from the path. With that colour and fur it could have only been a bear. I only saw the body though, not the face.
It must have been another 10mins later that, as I was scanning the area next to the trail, I saw a bear cub standing up against a tree something like 30m away from me. It was upright and facing me directly and it was beautiful. I stopped in my tracks and looked at it for 20 seconds, then turned my head to tell Trevor (who was by now right behind me) to look, he said he has seen it. When I turned around again it was gone. Sorry guys, this time everything happened top fast so no photo.
We walked on, carefully observing the area around us in case mommy bear was close by but fortunately no further sightings.
As we came to the bottom we found a lunch spot too good to pass up, even though it was a bit early for lunch.
This afternoon I slipped on a rock and had a small fall. Nothing broken but I did get a knock on the knee so hope it won’t be too stiff tomorrow.
We did 30km with a 1450m ascent, and are both tired tonight. We see in our book that there is a “general store&deli” on a road we are crossing on 18km tomorrow. We will stop there to (hopefully) find a nice lunch, and to buy something to replace the Ramen Noodles we lost yesterday. Hold thumbs.