Monday, April 18, 2011

April 13

Back to the trail! My pack is stuffed full and is ridiculously heavy...I'll get into details about that later. I woke before 7 this morning after a decent night's sleep and started packing my bag to leave Asheville. My food bag is enormous and I had trouble fitting everything into my pack. I also discovered that one of my bottles is leaking when I put it into the pack so I'm not sure what to do about that.
The six of us plus AJ's brother, Chris, packed ourselves and our packs into grandma's van for the drive back to Hot Springs. We visited the outfitter before heading down the trail at about 11:30. We weighed our packs there...mine came to 42 pounds! Seriously?! To give you an idea of how much food I've been eating, I started the trail with 4 days of food and 32 pounds; today I had 5-6 days of food and weighed 10 pounds more! It's unbelievable how much I'm eating (and carrying!) We took our time as we only had 8-ish miles to go (the trail goes right through town and we had walked some of the distance yesterday) and the weather was warm and sunny and perfect. The trail was beautiful; we walked alongside a river, a pond, and a few fields. We arrived at the Rich Mountain fire tower around 3:30. Dinner was buffalo chicken rice with a foil chicken pack (delicious) and chocolate pudding/mint pie courtesy of Muffin Man (also delicious). AJ and Shepherd got a fire going so we've been enjoying its heat as it's a little chilly tonight. AJ, Muffin Man, and I are sleeping in the fire tower under the mostly clear night sky. The sunset and the skyline were absolutely beautiful! Phil, Pappy, and Shepherd are camped below. It's a beautiful evening and we're supposed to have nice weather again tomorrow!
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