Had I known this was going to be such difficult section, I would have made different decisions.

At times, the head lamp actually obscured the path, and it’s better to turn it off and walk by moonlight.

I do, however, believe this would be a difficult path to follow even in daylight. The trail seems to dissipate at random, and I lose it several times. At one point, I’m 200 feet off the trail.

I could walk back, but quite frankly, there’s no a lot of difference between the trail and the surrounding landscape, so I cut across.

This happens again. And again. I stopped counting.

Coyotes howl in the distance. I continue to walk toward the howling.

Eventually, there’s an opening. Many cows are unhappy with my appearance, and they make it clear with menacing moo's.

MOOOOOO.

Shut up, cow. You’re fine.

Normally, cows are no threat. However, when a large, previously unseen cow moos 5 feet from you, you jump.

WHAT THE HELL COW.

I can’t find a trail in this opening, but fortunately there’s not much in the way of trees, so I can keep my phone out and follow the map. The moonlight is more than enough to light the way.

I come to a ridge, and thoughtlessly yell out, EH-YO, as I often do to see if there’s an echo.

Then I notice a tent about 30 feet away.

Oh.

I probably scared the goobers out of that person. I think I see a light in the tent, possibly from a phone. I could investigate, but it would require walking toward the tent and potentially scaring the person even more.

No, let’s just move on and not be so careless next time.

Now for the decline. Wow, this is precarious. Even with the trekking poles, I’m sliding often.

This. sucks. This was a bad idea. And I’m exhausted.

Nothing I can do about it now.

Eventually it will be over. There’s no choice, however, but to just keep going.