I awoke with that need that happens. When I poked my head out of my sleeping bag I thought, dang its already daylight. It’s time to hike. But instead it was the moon. It was back and this time more brilliant than before. Plus it was only 02:30. I would still have plenty of time to sleep.
My Friend Was Back Again
The next time I woke it was 06:00 and there was the most racket going on in any evening since being on the trail. Woodpeckers were at work……everywhere. I have great concern about the future of woodpeckers. Surely they must all suffer some level of traumatic brain damage. How in the world would you survive that much slamming your nose into a tree 100 miles an hour. No helmet…no beak guard… And why do it?Is this some kind of woodpecker peer pressure thing that you must slam your beak into a tree in the hopes of finding s bug? After all there is absolutely no guarantee that they are pecking in the right place. They could come up with a dry hole. And yet as I lie here in my tent within six inches of my face on my tent I can see at least four different species of yummy bugs and multiples of each. A veritable Golden Coral of bugs for the taking. No searching….no pecking. Just come and get them. They wouldn’t even have to leave a tip. I’m just really concerned about the decision making process of woodpeckers.
My Home For the Evening
By 0810 I was on the trail. Baloo pulled out right in front of me and I haven’t seen him since. My tramily was dispersed and I really thought that I wouldn’t see them again. An hour later I heard people catching me (which is the norm). I heard laughter….. girl type laughter. No one out here laughs while hiking except…… could it be….. might it be…. up over the crest they appeared laughing about the steepness of the climb. It was Spoons and Sunshine! Tramily. We took a moment to catch up since we were now all separated. The plan was to meet at a shelter tonight. All we had to do was have them enjoy themselves all the way and I could gasp and sputter and suck air and say do diddly do a zillion times to keep cadence while climbing mind boggling mountains. They lifted my spirits. I was now determined to reach that shelter.
Sunshine, Spoons and Defib
A mile further I heard laughter in front of me. It couldn’t be them. By now they would be far ahead of me as we were hiking downhill to Allen Gap. As I turned a corner there they were. Both of them on the ground in the trail. “I turned my ankle and fell!” Spoons happily announced. “I’ve just taped it”. Her joy of doing this matched the winning contestants on “The Price is Right”. Miles, from Boone, NC, came by and kept going. He’s obviously not a rubber necker at accident scenes. Then a thru hiker from London arrived. When asked his trail name he said that he didn’t have one. “I heard that it was Dorothy”, Spoons offered! The response was immediate. “It’s not Dorothy!” According to Spoons he had awoken in a start in one of the packed shelters one night asking where he was. One of the responses was that he wasn’t in Kansas anymore, Dorothy. Thus the name. But London was holding fast. No Dorothy for him.
Not Dorothy From London and an Injured Spoons
We started back up and they were immediately out of sight… injury and all. The sun was finally out and I was craving something to drink other than water. I turned a corner and there it was ….. an unattended trail magic with a price tag, It was the honor method. Pepsi’s were a dollar. I donated and inhaled. That allowed Huck and Ray to catch me.
Sherpa Matt’s Concession Stand (Miles from nowhere)
We were now entering a narrow ridge of rock from which you could see off of each side. There was an alternate route for bad weather.
Blackstack Cliffs Warning
Huck and Ray were in front of me. The footing was horrendous. I struggled with my sticks to negotiate the boulders.
After scrambling I made it to Whiterock Cliff.
Huck, Ray and I continued to scramble over the rocks and were rewarded with some great views. They are a wonderful couple from Wilksboro, North Carolina who are tackling this monster together.
Huck (he) and Ray (she)
I stopped several times for pictures and they got ahead of me again. They wanted to get to the same Jerry’s Cabin Shelter.
Almost as soon as we left the rock field we hit a landmark. No fanfare but the 300 mile point had been reached.
It was right next to Bee Tree Hollow. I kept struggling and at 7:30 PM managed to stumble into the shelter. Spoon and Sunshine were sitting with Tallboy and others that I didn’t know. They had saved me a spot for my tent. It was soon up and we were once again roommates. There was more laughter which for a moment made me forget my fatigue . Once in our respective tents it was immediately quiet. We all knew what we had to conquer tomorrow. It was hiker midnight…..time to crash and burn…..restore our strength…so tomorrow we could hike on.