Picking back up on my Cranberry Wilderness Hike from days one and two, Saturday April 26 (the third day), we awoke to 32 degree temperatures. I was warm enough only because I packed my sleeping bag liner. I had thrown up for the last time at 5PM Friday, and was feeling better and a little hungry. I had also slept really well, out of sheer exhaustion. I ate a bagel and drank hot chocolate. Then Carl and I looked at the map. We knew that given our slow progress the first two days due to my sickness that completing our 23 mile route was out of the question. But we saw that there was a trail that cut over the mountains that would loop back to the road. We guessed it would be about an eight mile hike (it turned out to be 11), and decided to go that way. On the map below, our Saturday track is in magenta, and Sunday's final hike out to the road was yellow. We knew we would end up several miles from the car, but Carl said he would go get it.Here is the elevation profile for day 3, all but the last 0.8 mile. I had to switch batteries in my GPS and it recorded that part of the profile in its own segment. The red arrows show the segment where Carlton ended up carrying my pack, as well as his, for about a half mile because I was so worn out that I was stopping to rest like every 200 feet. I was exhausted from being sick and eating almost nothing - or at least keeping it down - since Thursday's breakfast.
Downstream a bit from that point, Libby wanted to camp here at this lovely spot, but we had too far to go.
Carlton and Libby on the trail in the morning.
Libby had hoped for a campfire but there was no safe place. Plus we would have had no spare water to drown the fire. We had each loaded up with 3-4 liters at the river, knowing our camp would be dry, and we needed that to camp with. She was disappointed but very good natured about it.
I was very worn out but could not sleep until probably 2AM because of severe heartburn from being sick. So I listened to the birds of the evening calling, especially the wood thrushes, which I love. And in the pre-dawn hours, I listened to another barred owl calling. I love hearing them!
The last mile and a half or so was through a northern hardwood forest, much more open but still no views.
I was so glad to get back to the road! It was over three miles to the car but Carl volunteered to get it, and off he ran. I could have run maybe 200 feet by that time. Libby and I relaxed by the road until her dad returned, then we changed into clean clothing and started the long drive back to Richmond. At least this time, we knew the way, and it was an uneventful trip. Our four day backpacking trip to the Cranberry Wilderness - type 2 fun for sure - was over.
I'd love to go back sometime and explore more, hopefully feeling healthy and well the next time!