April 17, 2017
Hoooly shmowzow! We hiked our butts off today!! The plan was to hike 17 miles and have 14-15 miles to go to rest in Hot Springs tomorrow. We ended up hiking 22.
It was Kyle, DustBuster, and I hiking together and it was a pretty entertaining day! DustBuster pointed out that the tall and long-legged Kyle looked surprisingly similar to an AT-AT Walker with his giant pack and hiking poles so now he’s earned a Trail Name.
Our first stop of the day was an Air Traffic Control (relay?) building. It was odd seeing it out in the middle of nowhere but interesting nonetheless and the view surrounding it was something else. Oh! And we got to walk through some grasslands! The top of the mountains are bald which makes for a nice change of scenery.
It was a lot of up and down with beautiful valleys (but more horse dung on the trail than DustBuster was happy with) and gorgeous balds. We stopped at Max Patch (formerly Mack’s Patch) after getting some trail magic drinks from some kind souls. That Dr. Pepper made lunch so much better, even as it started to sprinkle on us. With the wind trying to blow us around, we hiked on towards shelter.
The rain stopped and started for a bit before stopping completely. When we made it to the shelter, it was filled with hikers as well as 2 families. AT Walker (Kyle) was wanting to put in a few more miles. His grandmother just passed and he’s trying to get as far as possible before having to take time off for the funeral (prayers g to him and his family) so he doesn’t fall too far behind everyone he knows. We checked our combined databases (AWOL’s Guide and Guthook) and decided to hike on another 4 miles to a site near water.
We almost immediately wished we would’ve just filled out waters and dry-camped at the next site we saw. Soo much climbing! We did get to see lots of flowers on the way, though! I managed to find one type in 3 different colors!
We finally made camp before DustBuster could take out her foot pain on either of us and we happily (fearfully?) offered to get water for her. It ended up starting to rain again but we only have 9 miles to town and our 4 extra miles got 2 pretty big climbs out of the way for us. I decided to practice my recorder a bit while it rained. I enjoy camping with people I’ve gotten a chance to know. Meeting new people can be exhausting! 21.7 today!