Today’s mileage: 19.1
Total mileage: 575.2
I always sleep better during the early morning hours out here. I spend the night turning from side to side and back to front. When one hip gets sore, I switch to the other side. Despite the nights that I feel like I’ve gotten hardly any sleep, I never feel tired during the day. I must be getting enough bad sleep or something, because I always have enough energy to hike everyday. And you know what I like about sleeping in a tent or shelter? You can do almost everything you need to do in the morning from the comfort of your own sleeping bag. I’ve always had a hard time getting up in the morning, so it’s way more enticing out here to wake up if all it means is sitting up and not having to crawl out of my warm sleeping bag right away. Oh the life!
Today was one of those days that we didn’t leave camp until after 9:30. We were the last ones to leave, but we don’t really don’t mind. The hike to the first road crossing went by quick and then we had a 4.5 mile climb with a 2100 foot elevation gain. We sure were sweating by the time we reached the top of Chestnut Knob. It was a humid day and we were prepared for rain that never came, although the clouds loomed overhead all day. The Chestnut Knob Shelter is a fully enclosed concrete structure on top of the mountain in a clearing. We heard that some hikers zeroed there yesterday because of the rain. I don’t think it would be a bad place for a rainy day, although it was kind of cold inside.
The view from the knob was picturesque. We looked down into a bright green valley abundant with barns and silos. The sun peeked out from behind the clouds and lit up the scene below. As we hiked along the ridge line across the edge of the valley, we could hear cows mooing from the nearby fields. Everyone thought that the second half of the day would be easier than the big climb we did earlier. It wasn’t the toughest hike by any means, but the constant up and down can get tiresome. The ridge line seemed never-ending.
We finally made it to the shelter at 7, where we decided to tent instead of stay in the almost full shelter. The privy is certainly one-of-a-kind here. There are no walls and no roof. You just sit on a platform in the middle of the woods with your pants down hoping no one walks “in” on you. Maybe it’s a good thing we’re almost always the last hikers to leave the shelter. That way, we can ensure privy privacy in the morning.