Day 2: Hilly Morning, Social Afternoon

Sunday August 30, 18.2mi/29.3km

Gifford Valley Rd Trailhead (3.5/880ft) to Rock Lake (21.7/1920ft) (NY)

I was awake at 7:30am, and took my time getting ready. I was planning to meet a couple of friends at the next trailhead at 11am, which was only 6.8mi away. I got moving down the trail, which was quite nice and newly constructed.

The switchbacks were funny, since they signed every single one with big arrows.

I hiked along Mud Lake for a mile, which was much more beautiful than its name suggests.

I could tell this was a very damp area, since there were fungi growing on everything.

And there were many tiny creek crossings, which was nice as I only carried a half liter of water.

About mid morning, I came to West Stony Creek, a wide shallow river.

My feet got wet as I forded the slow moving stream.

I climbed the hill up the other side, and saw more signs of a wet environment. More fungi…

…and toads!

I arrived to Benson Road trailhead at 11am, and met up with my friends Jim and Mark, who are joining for a couple of days.

We will hike the next 28 miles together, up to Piseco. The afternoon flew by, talking about every topic imaginable, even pumpkin spice spam. Eww. And of course mushrooms.

There were several bridged stream crossings, and my feet stayed dry.

The trail was enjoyable, the company amicable, and the weather sunny. We arrived to camp just before 5pm.

Rock Lake was a beautiful little piece of water, and we ate dinner by the shore.

Mark purifies his water with a Steripen, a UV light tool. It looks so cool in the darkness.

We even had a campfire! I almost never do a fire, because they are a lot of work. And illegal/dangerous most places in the dry west. It was difficult to get it started, but soon roared to life.

I was in bed around 9:30pm, and read my book before I easily fell asleep.

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