Feb. 23, 2017
I had a slow start this morning. I slept great but had to wipe the condensation from my tent which is a small annoyance. Hopefully, that won’t be an everyday thing. There was a hard climb right after breakfast but my knee was no longer hurting and I had plenty of water. There was an area that looked to be a cave a little off the trail that I just had to explore! Disappointingly, it turned out to be quite shallow.
I then came across another hiker hiking the opposite way. His name was Jackie and he was hiking with his dog Lola. We talked for a little bit and he is also hiking the AT this year. He’ll start in mid-March and have Lola with him so there’s a good chance that I’ll run into him again! He told me of a beautiful creek a few miles ahead that would be perfect for lunch. I thanked him and warned him of the 6 mile dry stretch he would run into after the last creek where I stayed. With an appreciation for coincidences and a lunchtime goal in mind, I marched on with renewed vigor.
And you know what? He wasn’t lying.
I love the way that rocks will sometime become perfectly square or rectangular. It makes me think of the columns of some ancient city that fell centuries or millennia ago (yes, I know I’m a dork, but I like me!). After lunch and refilling my water bladder for the second time (because no matter how old I get, I still can’t go a week without spilling something while eating), I just had to go exploring a bit, my spirit wouldn’t let me just pass it all by.
There was one more big climb for the day but then it was easy walking. I easily made it to my next campsite at Fane Creek. I. LOVE. Pine trees! The ground was so soft that I instantly kicked off my shoes and set up camp barefoot. Some previous campers had made chairs of rock and covered them with moss for a nice cushion. I was in Heaven! To top it off, the nearby creek was especially deep and it was still rather warm out so I couldn’t help but to take a quick dip. It was so nice but the sun was going down so I quickly retreated back to start my pine-fresh fire and supper.
I made it 11 miles today which brings my total mileage to 30. I honestly thought I’d have gotten farther but I wasn’t counting on this much steep uphill hiking. Tomorrow I will start hiking back. There are gonna be a few tough climbs but I suspect it will be much easier than these first 3 days. Now I get to drift off to the smell of burning pine, the sound of owls and frogs, and the sight of a billion glowing stars through the screen of my tent.