On Mar 26, 2015, at 1:37 PM
This log is for yesterday Wednesday, March 25th. Cellular service is spotty and I send these updates when I can!
I rose later than usual, very tired from yesterday and the fast 19 miles (plus some unknown wandering miles in the woods when I got turned around). It was probably more than 20 miles overall.
The camp spot on a ridge next to the spring was beautiful… but a strong east wind howled all night, and the forest was a symphony of creaking and groaning trees. The wind blew so hard all morning that I could barely cook with my little propane stove.
My morning climb led me up a painful and cold wet climb of Big Bald, immersed in a blowing cloud. It was beautiful and hurt a lot at the same time. Around noon, I summited at last in a 20 mph wind, immersed in a wet blowing fog, on a bald mountaintop at 5615 feet. I know because the marker said so, but I could not see more than a hundred feet in any direction.
As suddenly as turning on a light switch the wind died down, the clouds parted, and I was witness to an amazing view, mountains adorned in the vestiges of the remaining cloud. As far as I could see, the trail followed the bald across undulating grass fields. Pretty amazing stuff. And a great time for lunch.
As I sat down to cheese and summer sausage, “Princess” and “Rocketman” came whizzing by with their day packs, “slack packing” another section. “Princess” hollered greetings as she walked, not to be deterred. “Rocketman” stopped to say hi. He said, “She won’t even stop for pictures. That’s my job.”
Shortly thereafter “Wye Knot” passed me. “Wye Knot” is legally blind but somehow hiking the trail. He was three feet away from me, as I sat in the pine straw on the side of the trail, and I said hello. He had never seen me. He stopped, we shook hands, and he extended a hand bound in a new fiberglass cast. He’d fallen and broken his right hand three weeks ago, walking for days in pain. Just yesterday he had the break set by a doctor. He was full of energy and glad to be back on the trail, trying to match pace with “Rocketman” and his jet engine bride.
The trail followed the bald and descended into a pretty beech forest. The farther I walked, the more I regretted eating the summer sausage. It eventually shut me down around 3 PM with a stomachache. I have the most disagreeable stomach.
Around 4 PM, walking along more of the amazing leaf strewn paths, two fellows my age passed me. By this time you should have noted that I never pass others. They always seem to pass me. “K2” and “Dow” both started at Springer Mountain in early March and they met each other during the first week. Now they hike together as a team. This is common in the Trail, to attach yourself to someone who is compatible with your pace and personality. We visited for a while, and they moved on to a nearby site. I continued on to Spivey Gap and a cool spot by a creek. It was only a 12-mile day, but I was exhausted. I don’t understand why. I could not finish dinner, and I crawled into my sleeping bag around 7:30 PM.
Now it is Thursday, I am refreshed and headed to Erwin, TN. I stink. I really do stink. Tonight I will shower and eat that smothered chicken fried steak and gorge on sweet tea and raspberry cobbler. I will wash clothes and fellowship with other hikers at Uncle Johnnie’s Hiker Hostel and Outfitter. And then, it will snow.
Today we expect a high of 70. Tomorrow: 23 degrees and snow. Every day is unique on the Trail.
Sent from my iPhone