Day 21, 14 miles, near airport road
The beds are comfy but we have to keep hiking. We head back to the dreaded SR20 and hike for a mile and a half to the trailhead. We are excited for the newly constructed trail. It’s supposed to be nice.
Soon we enter a burn area, a little bit of a bummer. Then we get to the cool new boardwalk, it’s pretty sweet. Then there is more burn area. Out of the burn area we enter a pine plantation. They’ve built up rows to plant the pine trees in and we’re walking up and down across the rows. It gets to be really annoying. We’re really bummed out that this supposed nice section is so disappointing and GL is about to lose it. He’s had it and walks a road out to hwy 81 while I continue on the last mile of trail. This last part is actually quite nice and with the low water tables also dry. We meet up again at the hwy trailhead.
The next section is sweet trail along a crystal clear creek followed by an old pine plantation with level trail. GL is still grouchy and leaves the trail again to roadwalk to our planned campsite.
Since the trail is shorter and still nice I beat him to the intersection but I see him coming so I wait. He checked the radar and severe rain is supposed to hit us soon. This is not the time to split up. He follows me up the trail and we see the clouds getting darker and the wind picking up. We head for a more forested area hoping to set up the tent before it starts raining. Our timing is impeccable. It’s only light rain at first but it turns into a downpour pretty quickly.
At first we think it’s funny and we’re nice and dry. When it really hits us it’s no longer fun and games. We hold on to the tent so it doesn’t blow in, the back end collapses once. Water is coming in from the sides and we use our little dollar shammy to mop things up. When I go outside to restake the back end I see fallen branches all over the place. The thunder and lightning intensify. I am definitely not a happy camper. I hate thunder storms!
We try to keep our important things dry and don’t get our sleeping bags out until it really looks like the worst is over.
We can still hear thunder in the distance but are now comfy in our bags reasonably dry.