This was, quite simply, the best hiking day yet. All the pieces fell into place for a wonderful, near perfect day.
First, the weather. Mid-sixties, sunny to warm you, a near constant wind to cool you, keep the bugs away, make the trees dance in an ever-changing pattern of light and shadow. And dance they did… Sometimes I would just stop in the middle of the path and watch. It looked like something out of Lost.
Next, the trail itself. Dirt with stones or leaves, or both, most of the way, no hard climbs, no hard descents. The trail maintainers went above and beyond on this section of trail – as much as they could, they removed rocks from the path, and piled them into stone walls bordering the path. Blazes were well marked – sometimes even the rocks in the path had white splashes; when the path went along the road, blazes were painted on the road; in short, it was near impossible to get lost here.
Yesterday’s rainstorm taught us both that we could go faster if we wanted to, so I think we were both testing that today, covered the first 5 miles to the deli in 2.5 hours, or 2 mph, which is a good speed for the AT, particularly for me.
Oh, yes, did I mention a deli? Why, yes, I did! And much food was had by all! It didn’t stop me from being hungry again later, but I ate a huge lunch. And soda. And hung out at the picnic table, and recharged the phone. Hikers will walk the extra .8 miles for a deli, indeedy! Making it just about a 10 miler today.
I am already in the sleeping bag; it is chilly out there! It will be quieter tonight though – only three of us in the shelter. Last night was impossible – one of the hikers had a sleeping pad that I swear was made of bubble wrap. Every time he shifted position, everyone woke up. And he was a restless sleeper! Tonight, I think I will sleep very well, bundled up. Tomorrow, another 10 miles. And so it goes.
I hike on!