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The Long Trail: Day 18 : Part 2 : 10/8/20 . The confidence we’d gained at the fire tower quickly disappeared on the descent. The trail was a muddy creek filled with slippery rocks and roots and equally slippery mud. The hiking was tedious, slow, frustrating, and demoralizing. I knew I needed a break and planned to eat lunch and regroup at the next shelter. . It was a tiny shelter but gave us walls to momentarily escape the wind and cold. We hunkered down for far too long and stared in the distance hoping to learn to teleport somewhere warm and dry. When that clearly didn’t work we opted for hot coffee before willing ourselves back out into the elements. . We were no longer going to push for a big day. Our next best plan was to hike 5.7 miles to the next shelter with our limbs and spirits in tact. It felt Herculean but potentially possible. The trail continued to be tedious but instead of finding every step frustrating, it became hilarious. I felt a little delirious and slap happy. I slipped and laughed, I almost fell off a rock slab and chuckled, and I watched Dave slide ungracefully and fall. I did my best to contain my laughter. . It’s comical that this is what we do for fun. This is what we shape our choices around. This walking in the woods, carrying our stuff, slogging through mud, hopping over boulders kind of life. All this in whatever weather the trail throws at you. Today was an excess of water from the previous days rain mixed with freezing temps. Even with all this in mind at the end of the day we made it to camp, set up our tent and went to sleep satisfied. I have a love for this life I can’t begin to explain to someone who hasn’t experienced it. The lows make the highs sweeter, the people make the experiences richer and the hard work and solitary mountain top views make the miles well worth the struggle.