After a questionable night's sleep, Ryan had gotten up to make a fire. I was able to sleep slightly better than him, but much like the last time we did this hike, it was really hard to get comfortable at all. I got up with the sun, rekindled a fire from the hot embers and kept that going for a while. I built it up pretty big and sat next to it, as it was still really chilly.
I went down to the creek near our camp and got some water in my bag for the day. I used the purification tablets which worked amazingly well. The water still looks dirty (because there's dirt in it) but the tablets are supposed to kill all viruses and bacteria. The water tasted really good as well, which was surprising since it came from a stream and we had read that the iodine tablets give it a funny taste. I'm glad it worked out though.
After eating some breakfast by the fire and taking down the tent we got back on the trail. The trail was pretty wide open for us to start and we crossed over some water near the beginning.
A good portion of the trail was in the area known as Thunder Swamp. It was different terrain than we had encountered so far, with mud, moss and stream crossings. It was nice to have an open area next to a river.
We took a multi-use trail that was basically like walking down a driveway and then we were back in the woods. Some of the trails were nice but a lot of others were overgrown and annoying to walk through. Our legs had been cut up from yesterday and it just felt worse walking through sticker bushes today.
You can't really tell but it was raining hard for a majority of our hike. It was nice at first, then a little annoying, then our shoes got soaked and we were all just ready to get back to the car. I like this grove area. We walked pretty quickly through the changing scenery, up hills and down, over streams and through thick foliage. We just kept looking for landmarks that said we were close to home.
Though we had been looking for it the whole time, we finally came upon the stream where we camped last time we did the hike much later than we expected. The mileage on the signs had been saying we were close to the parking lot but once we got here we knew we were farther than posted. The signs suck. This is still the nicest view on the trail though. We missed a turn and got off track for a short time but once we realized we got back on track and after a long climb we reached the car! We were so relieved to take our shoes and packs off and sit down. We got delicious pizza and hit some traffic on the way home but we made it.
I relaxed at home for a while before meeting Jackie and some people at Uncle Harry's bar in Vineland for Dan's surprise party. He was genuinely surprised (or terrified, I'm not sure which.) Sara made some amazing blueberry peach crisp and I made some friends. I had a beer and a drink that was mostly rum while I talked about surfing, snowboarding and microbreweries.