Up late this morning, expecting a short hike to the next water source. Bivouacs put me on water rationing immediately, cold dinner and a trail bar breakfast, and restrained use of my usual 2 liter hiking water supply. All these steps let me stretch one day’s water to cover two, but take away much of my strength for the afternoon.
Some of the millipedes crawling the bivouac site tried to hitch a ride on my tarp and in my boots, but I kicked them off, explaining that I was already over my optimum pack weight. I turned west (to go south on the AT, and stepped off into the fog.
When I met the first person I saw on the Trail today, we determined that I was headed back to Wind Gap, and had added two miles to the nearest southbound spring. (The Beer Design tavern was closer, but I successfully resisted temptation once again.)
Trail surface of embedded small rocks, many platelike and embedded on end with their points up to catch unwary travelers. The heavy Vasque bootw have done a good job of limiting my score so far: two blisters, one no-injury fall.
I also saw my first live viper on the AT! It was about for inches long, definitely a triangular jaw, and racing for cover under the rocks before I could take a photo or even guess its species. Timber rattler, probably.
The spring was four hundred feet downhill from the shelter. A hunter cheerily told me he had drank from the screen unpurified for years without ill effect; I thanked him for his advice, and went ahead with my usual process.
Tomorrow, 7 miles to another “unreliable” spring, followed by a ten mile day. I will carry extra water again. This section has a reputation for being difficullt, and zi am feeling good about continuing to make my way through it.
Although, I do regret missiing Beer Designs.