I am not even going to try to list where I have been the last two days, because I have been all over the SNP. Nor can I describe how good it is to be carrying the pack again, or what effect a good sized dose of bourbon has had on me tonight. It is chilly out there though.
Okay, let’s see if I can be coherent. I had a whole entry typed up and ready to go last night for yesterday, but an accidental icon click replaced it with the phone # for a shuttler – not very useful in that context.
Yesterday was my first day of carrying the full pack again (minus tent) in well over a week, and though the terrain was rougher (rockier and a lot of uphill/downhill) than in past days, I was very happy – minimal pain and maximum independence. I covered 14.5 miles.
I stayed at Rock Spring Shelter, and that helped shape today. Because there was a hiker there who both loved to smoke and to talk. I was inclined to neither, particularly the stuff he was smoking, but that didn’t stop him. Fortunately, another hiker and his mother arrived later, and they enjoyed both – so I was off the hook, as they all smoked up a storm outside. Okay for them, but I need to be able to keep a job.
Unfortunately, this hiker seemed to take an interest in me anyway, something not reciprocated (the man has children and grandchildren, for crying out loud!). There was a wayside grocery and restaurant with picnic tables about 4.5 miles in, and as I approached, another (northbound) hiker was leaving. He warned me this first hiker was waiting for me at a picnic table, and planned to buy a ham to cook me a ham dinner at the next shelter that night.
Enough was enough, and this was getting exceedingly creepy. They guy just was creepy. I decided to jump ahead on trail – since Mrs. Joy is joining me tomorrow for a few days of hiking, I had a perfectly true and legitimate reason. I got a ride to an overlook about 4.5 miles from a shelter, and about 12 miles from Waynesboro, after a lot of asking people. Tomorrow I will hike into Waynesboro, pick up my maildrops, and join Mrs. Joy at a hostel – then we will hike north to cover the section I jumped over.
Today abounded in wildlife – first it was a Momma bear and her cub. I saw them crossing the trail about 150 feet ahead, and froze, the cautiously retreated, walking backwards. I waited about five minutes, then slowly went forward. No good – they were right next to the trail. Retreat again… Another few minutes, I watched them, then slowly advanced, whistling very loudly. They must not have liked how offkey I was, because they headed off downhill, and I was free to move on. I spent a lot of the day’s hike whistling. Just in case.
And deer! Four deer, grazing right by the trail as I came by – I didn’t faze them at all. A buck, a doe, and two fawns – I got some pictures, though none of the bears. Too risky.
My day’s hike was oddly split. 4.4 in the middle of the SNP, and 4.5 at the southern end. Neither section very hard to hike. And there was a fair dose of bourbon at the end of the hike. Plus a Ramenbomb – what you get from mixing Ramen noodles with instant mashed potatoes. Filling, if weird. I enjoyed the bourbon more.
It is cold here. I am really enjoying being able to carry a pack again, I felt… inadequate without it.
I hike on!