|Descending PC Adam Braddock|
|Adam & I with Rainier Looming PC Adam Braddock|
|Mystic Lake PC Adam Braddock|
|Tree Obstacles PC Adam Braddock|
We ran at a solid clip down the hill from Winded Gap until we made a half mile error near Lake James. It was at this point when the trail markings got very sketchy. Prior to Lake James we were confident about our sub seven hour effort, but this juncture marked the only the beginning of our troubles. After getting back on trail we were slowed to a walk by a constant barrage of fallen trees. We could not go ten strides without having to hop over or climb under fallen logs that made trail finding a challenge. After we emerged from the obstacle course, we arrived at Van Horn Creek and saw a spectacular waterfall, but it seemed that the obstacles were only beginning. From here the trail stopped, we followed sporadically placed cairns to the West Fork of the White River. The cairns indicated that we must cross the raging knee deep water. Adam made quick work of the crossing but I was quite scared, one slip might send me down stream to get caught on a log jam. I feared getting stuck under a log and drowning, but I knew if we turned back we would undoubtedly be hiking in the dark, so I pressed forward.