Throughout the night I listened to the rain on my tent. It brought The uncertainty of the dread of packing up wet.
I finally crawled out of the tent. I was camped on the edge of a cliff. The morning sky promised a mixed bag of a day. What to do… dress cold…dress…dress hot…dress for rain? Then I remembered… I’ve been wearing the same clothes for twelve days. Why worry about it!
I was the last one out of the camp. My drive was near zero. I’ve known sloths who had more energy. In spite of that I began my hike going, of course, up. 0.7 miles later I was at the top of Copper Ridge Bald and it was looking a bit better. I seemed to have the trail to myself. We had moved ahead of the bubble.
It was great to set my own pace. I knew that there was no way that I would be able to keep their pace. I found myself day dreaming as I climbed above Tellico Gap. As usual I was watching my feet when I suddenly heard multiple small birds chirping. I looked up and found them jumping around in a rhododendron bush. I suddenly realized that I was walking a narrow ridge which opened up to an entire world on either side. There was no doubt in my mind that His presence was here. The trees were barren with no signs of Spring but far below you could barely make out the greening of pastures.
This is what the trail looks like today. It actually looks quite a bit like yesterday and the day before.
As I was hiking up Wesser Bald I could hear the deep rumble of a diesel tractor attempting to start. It chugged five or six times and quit. I wondered if the operator had warmed the plug. My won’t start unless I warm it for 15 seconds. I wondered if Sons Jamie or Jeremy had used ours to bush hog the property. I didn’t hear the engine try again.
After a great deal of effort I reached to top of Wessex Bald and climbed the tower. The world I was hiking spread out around me 360 degrees.
The sky was becoming ominous. I better eat. I had saved this moment. Jan had brought me a packed slice of Spam. Her words, “I wasn’t sure if you were kidding about this stuff so I brought this. You can throw it away.”
Are you kidding …. out here this is prime rib!!!! And now my moment had come … Spam and a baby orange for lunch. I was happy!
I moved on and soon the rains hit. It was soaked quickly. The rain coat went on and I hunkered down to endure it. Mile after mile passed with slipping and sliding the order of the day. At one point I slipped and for a moment found myself suspended on my hiking pole with both arms as legs in the air. You remember in Dirty Dancing when Patrick Swayze and the girl were practicing for the big dance out in the field and then in a lake? She would jump up and he’d balance her above his head. Well that was me balancing … wait… that leaves me dancing with Swayze. Forget all that. It was tough hiking.
At 4:15 I made it into NOV. No Name had rented a four man bunkhouse for the night. He, Silver, Bear Bait and I piled in. We are dry for the night as a storm clambers on outside. Hike on.