I had another great night's sleep-that's something I could get used to for the rest of the hike. We left camp just after 7:30 with the hope of doing a long day to make tomorrow's hike into town shorter.
The sky was hazy with smoke. The nearest ridges were tinged blue and the ridges beyond them faded away into the glaring haze. Portrait and I figured the smoke was from the fire we saw yesterday-we had crossed the valley and were climbing up the ridge where we had seen the column of smoke. If it was the same fire it had grown a lot over night. There was enough smoke that I could taste it with every breath as we climbed upward.
Everyone we passed going south said the smoke got worst as the climb went higher. It did seem thicker as we went up. Even with the haze the view of the ridges were lovely. The mountains became ghost in the thick smoke.
We followed the trail down. We had left most of the smoke on the other side of the ridge. The air was a little cleaner to breath but the views were still hazy. At lunch we had only done eight miles (all uphill) but my pace was slower on the downhill because of my tendons.
It was a very long two miles for me. My least favorite trail with the hurt tendons is down hill and rocky and it was two miles of that. The rocks shifted underfoot which would jar my tendon causing a sharp pain (and grimace). Finally, at dusk, we were down at the spring.
Portrait filled up and went in search of a campsite among the pines while I filled up. The water was almost painfully cold when I plunged my hand in to fill my bottle. It was some of the best water I had on trail.
I could hear Portrait whistling and I followed the tune more than the trail. He had found us a nice place for the night. I was too weary to do much and without clearing the ground I put down my tyveck, tested the feel of the ground, and called it home while I took off my shoes. I had no intention of moving for the rest of the night except to brush my teeth after dinner.