It’s Time to Try Again!!
On the left is Navster with the knee brace …… in the middle is Wiley with a knee brace… on the right is Jim Humphries the owner of Boots-Off Hostel. By far the best hostel that we have stayed in on this journey. This morning Navster and Wiley along with Champ and a young lady whose name I do not know have opted to slack pack 21 miles downhill back to the Hostel from TU 91. As for me I’m as pure as a newly fallen winter snow. I’m sure you all believe that. Ok …. the truth is as far as the rules for hiking the AT I’m pretty much pure.
A Second Goodbye to Boots-Off
Once the Suburban made its way down the driveway with the slackers I followed on foot. Every step was measured as I attempted to gauge what my chances were of having a successful hike. There was a shelter at 9.4 miles, a tent site at 13.1 miles and a shelter at 16 miles. I set my sites on 13.1 miles. I worked my way down the drive past the office/home and past multiple hikers who were opting to spend another night. Everyone else was slacking which meant at some point I would pass them heading the other way.
Words of Encouragement
I had come upon this sign when I arrived at this hostel back on the 14th. At the time I was totally hobbled. Now I found myself heading the other way with the hopes that my knee would hold up. I walked back and forth across the drive testing the knee. There was no pain but if my legs were made of wood mine would be Balsa wood. I tried to think of the sign as a rah rah moment. Instead I hoped that I could make it to the trail 400 feet away.
Defib: Hike On
As you know Ebb my Oconee County Kindness Rock was placed along the extremely difficult tail leading up Albert Mountain in Georgia. I ran into several hikers having a terrible time getting up that mountain and knew that someone there would need his ‘Never Give Up’ message. Today my new Oconee County Kindness Rock began its journey with me. Only 2 ounces in weight it was painted by Ann Aubert and was delivered to me by Ann’s husband Ron on the day I had to come off the trail. His first view of the AT was at Lake Watauga. I had hiked 0.2 miles. Hopefully he will travel many miles with me and hopefully Ebb accomplished his mission getting someone up and over Albert Mountain.
Tunneling My Way to Damascus
The trail led its way around the lake so at least for the first mile it was relatively flat. It gave me a chance to develop a new slow pace watching my every step. It was tedious but effective. At one point I walked past several dead trees in the lake along its edge. Large fish were jumping out of the water after bugs. About a quarter of a mile later I came upon a young family fishing. The two young boys were disappointed because dad hadn’t caught any fish. I sent them to my logs. Dad smiled a thank you.
Pond Mountain: Where I raced the Sunset
My progress around the lake was slow. At one point I had to stop to delayer my down vest. I decided to look at my phone app of the trail to determine my best course of action. Just then a woman came around the corner from the North. She had two dogs on a day hike. She immediately lit into me. “Get off that phone! You’re supposed to be out here enjoying every tree and plant!” My anger ignited. I wanted to lash out about how many trees I’ve seen in the last month and a half but I curbed my tongue. Instead I welcomed her two dogs who took a liking to me. Some dogs just don’t have any luck finding a decent owner.
Lake Watauga at Two Miles
A short time later I caught up with a couple hiking Northbound. They were very much opposite the woman in personality and I thought about asking them if they’d like to have two very nice dogs.
Potential Resolution for Anti-phone Woman
They say that the bear are quite a problem here. I know that they prefer nuts and berries but perhaps just once they would consider …… well she’s probably already home now. I would have to hike thoughts of her out of my mind.
It’s Amazing How One Small Event Can Disturb Your Peace
The lake continued forever and at one point I came upon three young people out on an adventure. The two boys were carrying Day packs and the young lady was tagging along. They checked out every flower and plant. I thought of Tory and Rachel…. that’s what they would be doing. I bet anti-phone would have liked them.
The Watauga Lake Dam
As I was crossing the dam I came upon two older gentlemen (well they had gray hair and beards) sitting on two rocks near the dam. I stopped for awhile and learned that they have hiked this twenty- one mile section of the AT together for twenty years. How cool is that! The dam itself was somewhat small but I paused long enough to make my first video. I’d been looking at Sunshine do hers with Spoons on their windy cold Mt Rogers hike . I thought I’d like to try that.
Looking Across Lake Watauga From the Dam
My First Video Sideways
I’m back on the trail.Video won’t work. I must need to pay more money!!
At 2:15 Champ showed up heading Southbound. He had hiked 15 miles to my 6. Grumble🍿
The Northern Segment of Lake Watauga .
The day was getting late and my progress was slow. Ten minutes after that the young lady with no name came from the North SOBO slacking it. I needed to consider stopping at the Vandeventer Shelter both because of time and the fact that the upcoming rain didn’t look too inviting.
I decided to make this home for the night. Within minutes of my arrival ten others joined me. The first five got the shelter while the others put up tents. That would prove to be significant. Among the group was a fellow from Wales, a Medieval re-enacter, three me from Charlotte, four women from everywhere, and Tinkerbell who was from the Black Forest of Germany.
The View From the Back of the Shelter
I enjoyed talking with Tinkerbell. He had a couple of bells attached to his leggings that are used for dancing. Someone accused him of having Bear bells ( a no no out here). “No” he said, “for dancing”. The accuser would not back down. He became Tinkerbell. He likes it.
Our Backyard Compatriots
I had actually passed the three from Charlotte….a first for me since Hot Springs so many miles ago. They set up on the edge of the cliff behind the shelter.
A fire was built and we all spent time telling hiking war stories. By 8pm everyone had collapsed. The rain would be here soon. It was time to hunker down. Tomorrow we could figure out how to hike on.