Wednesday, May 17, 2017

I Am Snail, Destroyer of Webs

I broke camp as quietly as possible at 4 am, threading my way around the many NOBO tents. One secret to dealing with this annual invasion: they sleep in late.

Then, on to the Trail, by headlamp. Not a favorite way to hike for me, there's nothing to see but the trail and that demands full concentration to avoid rocks, roots, and any local fauna out looking for their morning meal.

Also, to avoid losing one's way. The white blazes are very comforting.

I did not meet anyone else on the trail until 8 am, a redbearded NOBO hurrying to catch up with his trail family. We traded info on trail conditions, and then he said

"By the way, do you know that you have a spider's web on your hat, hanging down to your pack?"

I brushed it off, and replied that someone had to be the first person on the trail in the morning. He grinned -- "Thanks for doing that for me!"

View from the pasture

The trail crossed two large open pastures, already warming up before 9 but with beautiful views.

Access to the pastures involved climbing fence stiles, of which I am not a fan when wearing a backpack. Must have been a dozen of them ....

Yet another fence stile

Following my revised hiking plan, I looked for a spring where I could go off trail and nap for a couple of hours. I found one, another magical place along the Trail!

Perfect for lunch and a siesta

In other news, I met my second snake for the year today, first on the AT this year! Small olive green skin with yellow lengthwise stripes, booking for the weeds to get out of the way of the huffing and puffing Destroyer.

Many hours afterward up and down mountains in sweltering heat -- and everyone was feeling it, not just me -- some mild dizziness surfaced. Not a good symptom of heat exhaustion onset when hiking ...  I elected to stop short at Davis Path Campsite.  which has a picnic bench, a privy, and two level tent sites.

Natural stairs up a boulder river?

There's a story here somewhere

When I opened up my bag to collect the items needed to claim one site, though, the bag with the tent poles and stakes was missing. My guess is that I did not put it the pack when I left Knot Maul shelter before dawn. Aargh!

Karma for the Destroyer? Definitely not going back to try and find it. I will try to post a note at the next shelter asking northbounders to look for it and email me if found. Unlikely -- but then, so was finding Bushy's kerchief.

In the meantime, it's cowboy camping for me tonight, rolled up in my tarp and hoping it does not rain.  The clouds are pretty ominous ... in any case, this disgusting turn of events will send me back to Round Hill for resupply.

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