May 1, 2013
Today’s mileage: 24.0
Total mileage: 613.2
We kicked off the month of May with a bang today as we hiked one of our longest days yet. We’ve been out here for seven weeks and hit the 600 mile marker today. If you can’t tell, I like milestones. They keep me motivated and help me focus on smaller goals such as every one-hundred miles, coming through a town, or crossing a state border. It’s crazy to think that less than a week ago we were at the 500 mile marker hanging out with ponies.
Our hike today wasn’t too strenuous, it was just a long day to be on our feet. We hiked along the ridge line in the morning overlooking farmland in the valley. We stopped in at Jenny Knob Shelter just before noon for a break. We spent about an hour there checking out the shelter log and munching on our food. Just after the 608 road crossing, we came upon a cooler of trail magic. Someone had left bottled water, apples, and oranges in a cooler by the trail. We downed some water before making the ascent back into the mountains.
As we approached the next road crossing, we came upon a beautiful field where the flowers and trees were blooming all around. The sun had come out, so it made for a very picturesque scene. As we admired the spring bloom, we discovered that someone was blocking the trail. A turtle, basking in the sun, had found his way onto to the AT. He was about 10 inches long I think. At first, he started going NOBO as we headed towards him, then he became a SOBO hiker as we took a few photos of him. He finally decided to get off the trail and head for the water source. He had had enough of us. We’ve seen a lot more wildlife in the past couple of weeks than we saw in the beginning of our hike. Now that spring is here, there’s a lot more to see. We saw a few hawks today and we’ve seen about eight deer in the past two days. We’ve also seen a few animal skulls recently as well.
We crossed over a cool suspension bridge over Kimberling Creek this afternoon. It bounced up and down as you crossed over it and reminded me of the wooden bridge in the old Creative Playground in Bucksport where I spent many hours of my childhood. The rest of the day was very flat after a quick uphill. The last six miles were almost entirely flat, which was a nice way to end the day. Although I wish I could have enjoyed it more, but my feet hurt and I was so ready to just lay down.
The small shelter was full when we got here just before 7. We wanted to tent anyways, so it worked out. I was warned that a 5 foot black snake had recently been removed from the privy. When I went in, there was no snake, but only a small mouse. We met a SOBO thru-hiker who took the winter off, Stonewall. He also met another SOBO thru-hiker we met last week, Sherpa Chief, who started on Katahdin on September 23rd and hiked through the winter. The guy started with a 120 lb. pack! It’s down to 70 lbs. now, but Stonewall told us that Sherpa Chief carries three cellphones and eats 5 lbs. of food per day. No wonder it took the guy two months to get to Mt. Washington and over seven months to hike to Marion, VA. I don’t know why anyone would want to hike up north during the winter. It was bad enough in Georgia in March!
My feet are resting and I’m letting my blisters air out in hopes that my feet are recovered by tomorrow. On to Pearisburg tomorrow!