June 8, 2013
Today’s mileage: 24.1
Total mileage: 1185.2
The most exciting part of our day today was our cicada encounters. This is the first time that I’ve ever seen them and their entire lifespan is very interesting. They remain underground for 17 years and feed off of root juice. After living almost their entire life underground, they emerge by digging holes up to the surface. There were cicada holes all over the trail today. They slowly climb up trees, shed their outer layer, and feed on the sap of the tree. The males are constantly humming, and you’ll know when you’re coming upon a group of cicadas. From afar, they sound like an idling school bus. It was cool to see them in their different stages, coming out of their shells, their wings drying out, and some that had already died.
The hiking today was mostly flat with a few small ascents. We didn’t have any views today, but lots of tall grass right along the trail. We made sure to check for ticks tonight after walking by miles of tall grass and plants. I had a very graceful fall after sliding down a small, wet rock. I caught myself with my pole and leapt right back up. That was probably the least painful fall so far.
After a long day already, we made it to an abandoned power line. We knew that the shelter was 2.7 miles from there. Man, that last part of the day seemed to drag on and on. I thought I had missed the shelter even and my legs just plain hurt. My heels were killing me, a reminder that new shoes are necessary. We are the only ones at the shelter tonight. I think this is a first for us. It’s okay with us though. Whether it makes sense or not, we decided to set up our tent inside the shelter to keep the bugs off of us. We dried out some of our clothes while we ate dinner (tortellini!) and enjoyed our solitude at the shelter.
My eyes are getting heavy. I know I’ll have a good chance of sleeping well tonight after a long, fulfilling day of hiking. We have crossed I-81 and will be heading on a more easterly route towards New Jersey. And you know what that means? I get to see my parents next week!!!