The camping scene at big meadow was crazy. All kind of people there with huge tents, trailers, RVs campfires everywhere. And then some hikers in their little tents.
Allie and I got walking at 8 and relatively quickly got to the Skyland resort for lunch. The miles go much more quickly when you walk with someone. A nice lunch there with Jacoby and Hot Sauce and then busted out another six that got us to the Byrd’s Nest 3 shelter with the crew from last night.
Some firsts today. Saw my first bear this morning! Got my first tick and removed it. And Allie got her trail name: Oz, since she is from Kansas.
Up early on Sunday and headed out. Since water was far away at this shelter, we decided to stop at the first shelter 4 miles up for breakfast. Then we busted out the other 8 to the wayside restaurant for lunch. Lots of other hikers/familiar faces there and we were all headed to the same shelter. I picked up some smarshmallows for the party. During lunch a big thunderstorm came through.
But it cleared up and was sunny and steamy soon enough.
Then it was out for the last 5 miles. An hour in the next storm showed up and we got absolutely drenched.rained for a solid hour, coming down hard. Of course it cleared just before I got to camp. Lots of cleaning and wringing out of clothes. Looks like no roasting tonight.
The next day was clear but damp. We headed out for a 14. We got the last wayside of the park, being lunch and some blackberry ice cream. Was super lows on stove fuel so I grabbed some there. We got to Terrapin Station hostel in the afternoon, and since it was sunny, started drying things out.
We decided to slack pack the next day, since it threatened rain. We were driven out 17 miles and then hiked back. Two things: hiking with someone makes the day go by fast, even though I hardly saw Oz all day. She’s being her trail legs quick! Second: overcast days make it impossible to track the passing of time.
So the day went by quickly. Saw Flap jack, Honey Bear (who we met a few weeks back) and Yellow Bird at the shelter just outside of the park.
Since the creepy days were to continue for the week I decided to meet up with cousin Tracy a day early.
Wednesday morning Oz and I parted ways as I was dropped off at a cafe in town and she pressed on ahead.
Tracy picked me up and I began my first double zero of the hike! Spent a lovely couple of days not hiking, eating well, watching tv and taking naps. And finally washed my disgusting, sweaty backpack. So gross.
Friday Tracy slack packed me down the road for a 14 up to route 7. It was misty and damp and I had a 1.7 miles hike to get to the actual AT. And it was rollercoaster day: 15 miles of Ricky ups and downs. It was slow going but not too bad. And we hit the 1000 mile mark!! Plus I got one more night in a real bed.
But all things must pass and today (Saturday), she dropped me off back at route 7 and it was back at it. The mist had broken so it was a nice day. However, remember when I sent my camera ahead way back in Georgia? I sent it to Tracy to try again after I was faster and stronger. So I had another 3+ lbs of weight and it was horrible! Felt like I was carrying a battleship in my pack. Even when the rollercoaster ended and it flattened out, it was still punishing. I tried to drop it off at the AT Blackburn center for Tracy to pick up(after walking with it for only 4 hours) but no caretaker was there. So it will be mailed back from Harper’s Ferry on Monday morn!