i just bit the bullet and went for sect 14. i wound up being solo but had a pit crew 2 hours away in the event i couldn't finish due to knee troubles. my bail out point was to be bull road, about halfway through.
all went well and there really isn't anything to report on the trail conditions. i completed the 14 mile section in 6.75 hours. without further injury. i especially liked descending the 'lions back' about midway. though very slick with dry leaves from last fall, it was a pure pleasure seeing the steep inclines on both sides veiws of nearby peaks. IDK, that part just spoke to me.
if i had a comment on sec 14 as a whole i suppose it would be this:
if i were a novice looking to up the ante a bit (i am), this would be the section to go for first. northbound it starts lightly and gives you little breaks between each of the harder ascents and descents in the middle. and the final mile or so is a great cool down area of some easy walking.
for you mst officianados:
i stumbled upon catherine's grave during the rail walk at the end. apparently she died at the age of 7 in 1872 (if i read the weathered stone right). does anyone have any input or further information concerning the grave? was it a family plot and this is the only stone left? very interesting but very sad too.