I was thankful this morning to wake to singing birds and sunshine...there really was a nice view from the shelter! The day started with two climbs: Little Hump and Hump Mountain. I was behind Veto and neither of us saw the trail turning on the top of Little Hump...we continued down the front of the mountain on a non-AT trail. After ten minutes or so, we came to a crossroads of trails and noticed white blazes on the trail we hadn't been following...ugh...can't miss any of the AT...so, we backtracked, uphill, on the AT (and met Pappy, Shepherd, and a few others along the way who all wondered what we were doing going the wrong direction...), figured out where we had gone wrong, and then turned around and hiked the correct way down the mountain. It was probably about a half hour time loss but not too big of a deal. The view from Little Hump was great, but then we climbed Hump Mountain, an intimidating sight from the bottom because you can see the trail winding up the bald for nearly a mile, and the views were incredible...360 degrees of mountains, fog, and sunshine. Very welcome after a nasty day yesterday!
I was feeling great today and flew down the mountain to the US 19E crossing where Muffin Man was planning to have pizza...there was a pizza place a few miles down the road and he left early this morning and was going to hitch into town, get a few pizzas, and meet us all at the crossing. That plan ended up not working out, but we did get trail magic at the road! Bob and Trish live about an hour away and came to give us sodas and snacks. Awesome!
The trail after that was relatively easy and reminded me a lot of home...hardwoods, briars, rolling hills, grassy fields, patches of evergreens. It was beautiful! There was a side trail to Jones Falls, which we took, and were treated to a huge (50 feet?) waterfall. Very cool. The trail after that continued downhill to Elk River, and we decided to camp in the meadow along the river. It's a beautiful spot with the water nearby. Everyone washed off in the cold river and it felt amazing after a hot and sweaty day. I rinsed out my hair and soaked my feet...Fiber, Veto, and Shepherd took full-on baths! We rinsed out some clothes too and set our tents up to dry in the sunlight. It's been a beautiful, awesome day...I felt strong all day and am hoping the feeling lasts. Tomorrow will be another 15-ish mile day, and then we're headed into town!...I want ice cream!
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