The high school crew roused before daylight and was on its way to Damascus before I had made up my oatmeal. Happy trails, kids, glad you didn't turn back on the bad days.
Wet clothes and a wet tent add a lot of weight to a backpack, so today's ups and downs were even more difficult than yesterday. (Possibly also cumulative stress and fatigue.)
On the way along one ridge, though, there were flowers!
Rhodedendrons all, it seems -- based on a quick skim of photos online. Even this small one with the swallowtail petals?
And this one, that I would call an azalea? Flowers by other names, still sweeten a day.
I stopped at mid day, turning aside at Saunders shelter for a long rest break. However, common sense, tiring muscles, and a beautiful forest grove far away from the shelter itself talked me into putting off the fifteen mile descent into Damascus until tomorrow.
Tent set up, everything out to dry, two hour nap with the sun filtering through the green leaves. Almost as good as ice cream.