March 16, 2004
Miles To Go
March 16, 2004
Miles To Go
It’s early. The sun’s only thinking about rising today. In contrast, it appears the rain has made up its mind to continue to fall lightly. The walls of my tent have a beautiful pattern of gray on gray on gray with shades of white and black tossed in for variety. Occasional droplets release from high up near the peak, building speed as they race towards the ground. They sound like tiny race cars zooming through Jell-O.
Mmmm, Jellooooooo. Mornings are tough. I’m on a calorie deficit and my food’s hanging from a tree, I hope it’s happy—my stomach is not!
Shopping list for the outfitter today:
1. Windscreen for stove – we left ours at home
2. Alcohol for the stove – we used about 9 oz.
Wow, this day has felt like it has been two weeks long! By 2:30 in the morning I was awake and heard D wake up. Not knowing the time but seeing a bright sky, I assumed it was near dawn – so I suggested we pack up early and hit the trail. D agreed. So the gear got stowed, the tent got somewhat shaken/dried and stuffed. And we got ready to walk. Then D looked at his watch and found out it was 2:30 AM! That is the problem with an 8 PM bedtime! We walked though thick fog and 15 feet visibility. As we walked, the rain picked up from a drizzle to steady rain. The wind picked up as well and then the water started puddling and then running down the trail. We crested 4500ft Blood Mountain in pitch blackness, not yet seeing a hint of sunrise! Cold, but not unhappy, we found the shelter on top and looked around for a few minutes. Then, after some indecision about where the trail was, I found a trail, convinced my brother it was the right trail and we descended. Slightly more than a mile later, with the thoughts of coffee dancing though my head. We passed the sign for Slaughter Creek tent sites again! I had sent us down the southbound trail. Aghghghghghgh!
We turned around and climbed Blood Mountain again in the gathering dawn. When we reached the top again, we checked out the shelter and found it painfully empty. Had we known that, we would have taken a break, had a bite, then found the right trail with some help from the sun! I felt so bad!
Breakfasted, we headed for Neel’s Gap and 3 miles later we were at Mountain Crossings for showers, shopping, and picking up our mail drop. This cool outfitter is right on the AT – the trail literally goes through the building. They have a free service where they’ll break down a thru-hikers’ pack and pull out the gear they think should be sent home. Needless to say, they sell a lot of lighter gear to those packing heavy weights!
After adding 10 pounds of food to our packs (we carry about 2 lbs/day), we headed NORTH!
I’ve had some knee pain today and blistered a bit from the wet socks and boots, so it has been a challenge. However, I loved the adventure and played D to a 357 to 357 tie in Scrabble after polishing off a 1000+ Calorie dinner while watching the sunset from our 3700-foot campsite. This is AWESOME!
I’ve been trying out a trail name today based on my method of compressing my pack to make all my stuff fit—I’ve been thinking about “Squish” What d’ya think?