We had a short day coming into SNP.  The Post Office had a nationwide data crash 5 minutes before we walked in the door to mail home 3 boxes of winter gear.  Eventually IP went over to Kroger and got some cash so we could pay up with dollars and be done.

We got a ride back out with a trail angel and slowly began our way into the park borders.  About a half mile up the trail we stopped at a kiosk and filled out the ridiculously wasteful permit before trudging on in the heat.  Are you getting the idea here – we were dragging ass despite having lightened our packs with the gear swap.

We made a short day of it and stopped at Calf Mountain shelter, only 7 miles in.  Given that the next shelter was another 13 miles away and how badly the camping rules suck we didn’t feel like we had a lot of choice unless we threw the rulebook out.  We were first in to the shelter and set up our tent in one of the designated sites only to discover that
A) the tent sites are not even long enough to accommodate our small 2 person tent
and
B) there are buku rocks under the tentsites.  Good luck getting a stake in the ground, sport.

All in all it wasn’t bad though.  Just little annoyances.

As we left camp we saw a small bear run away from us – small enough that we watched carefully for mom – who we never did see.

Then a couple of hours later we saw a larger bear trailside and I managed to get a pic, sort of.  Not just a blob but a bear – promise.

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Shortly after that we saw a deer right beside the trail and she made it clear that people feed deer here.  Not just a deer, but a s’mores deer.

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A little after that we saw a turkey that we watched walk calmly away instead of fleeing in the normal manner.  One can tell that there is no hunting here.

A couple of hours later we encountered a family taking pictures of a bear and we kind of looked at it before moving on but we were mostly “Oh yeah, we’ve seen a couple of those already today.  Hohum.”

We finished the 20 mile off day by going into Loft Mountain Campground.  We got showers at the campground store ($1 in quarters gets you 5 minutes – worth it), buying beer, hot dogs and buns and shelling out $15 for a campsite where we cooked and ate 10 hot dogs and 8 buns in short order and washed them down with our 6pack of Busch Classic.  Mmmmm.

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