Monday, April 18, 2011

April 14

Today will be remembered for the best trail magic ever! Let me start from the beginning. I woke just before dawn to a still starry night sky and the glow of the new day on the horizon. Beautiful! It was windy in the tower so AJ, Muffin Man, and I gathered our stuff and headed down to the campsite below. Muffin Man and I left at about 7:30 and and made good time to a shelter 2.7 miles away where we took a break. I needed water so he continued on and I got moving after I refilled. It was a cool morning but the sun was shining and it was pleasant. I hiked alone for most of the morning and passed a few people on the trail. When I approached Allen Gap, around 11:30, I saw Muffin Man waiting alongside the trail. "There's a sign for trail magic!" he said, so I continued on and saw that there was trail magic down the road. We knew AJ was not far behind so we waited a few minutes and he and Phil (trail name Fiber, if I haven't mentioned that yet...I'll tell the story later!) showed up shortly. We walked about 300 yards down the road to a nice log house where we were welcomed inside by Hercules and Fal, AT class of 1999. There were a few other hikers there as well, including James and Jen and Dave and Kristy. We were each given a menu of drinks to choose from (I had root beer from a frosty mug), a waffle to start, then a bowl of pork stew, and then our choice of dessert. I chose a brownie sundae...just what I've been craving! The food was so, so delicious. Hercules and Fal said they have been doing trail magic for 7 years and have had more than 2400 hikers come through their home...so awesome! We (sadly) left their house and headed back to the trail for lots of uphill...about 2300 feet of elevation gain over 4-ish miles. Tough with a full belly! I felt okay until the final climb for the day, 1100 feet over 1.3 miles. It was rough going and took me around 45 minutes! I finally made it and caught up to the others who were setting up camp alongside the trail as we'd planned to do. I don't know where exactly we are...somewhere between Camp Creek Bald Tower and Jones Meadow. Not sure if we're in TN or NC as the trail crosses the border frequently. I'm camping in my tent tonight...it's been almost two weeks I think! There are a few other people camped here as well, including Squatch, who is filming a documentary about the trail....very cool. He got some footage of Fiber, AJ, and I hanging our bear bags (prime time entertainment!). We've been enjoying a fire and a bright moon. It's supposed to rain for the next few days but the sky is clear now and the stars are shining.
My new boots have broken in well and my feet feel okay. My right foot causes me some pain but it's been there since Fontana Dam so it's not the fault of the new shoes. The blister on my left heel is healing and my knee feels great...can't ask for much more!
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