DF: We ended up hanging out at the picnic table last night with Steady and two local SOBO section hikers, Kevin and Eric. After much conversation, we decided to try to finish in three more days instead of four. In order to do that, we had to do more than fifteen miles today. So we did.
For the most part, the trail today was much more straightforward than usual. We did a lot more walking and a lot less scrambling and climbing, which helped us to be able to do the miles. Our trade-off for good trail, however, was deer flies. They were relentless, attacking our heads and biting, especially when we were trying to navigate a tricky section of trail.
I’ve noticed a change in wildflowers during the time we’ve been out. The milkweed (with the round clusters of lavender flowers) is done blooming, and goldenrod and tall phlox are beginning to bloom. I saw another plant with a tall spike of purple flowers. At first I thought it was phlox, but then I noticed that the leaves were different. Upon closer inspection, I think it’s an orchid. I’ll look it up when we get home.
The end of the day featured a huge climb up Belvidere Mountain, then three more miles down to the shelter. Those last three miles were rough, and it really was a long day. We left camp at 6:45 this morning, and got here at 6:45 this evening.
The camp has bunks for eight. We’re here with Steady and another NOBO named Mike. He’s retired and says hiking helps stretch his pension. The building has a door and a big window–Mike insisted we close them, so it’s a bit cave-like in here now. We’ll see how things go overnight.
There’s a good chance of rain tomorrow. We’ll see how things look in the morning.
BC: Long day on typical Long Trail tread. We had a steep 1800 foot climb after lunch to the top of Belvidere, with another 0.2 miles straight up to the fire tower, but the views were well worth it. Tillotson Camp is a nice little 4-sided shelter and there are only four of us staying here tonight.