Tuesday, December 29, 2015
Monday, May 11, 2015
I guess I'm developing a habit of bouncing from one zero day to another. To poorly quote Miss Janet, hiking's an experience separated by long walks in the woods. Maybe its like Pink Floyd or music that's slow and steady, where you have moments to reflect in the pauses between the notes. Really, I'm just trying to justify the growing absence of hiking in my "hike."
Having not slept, I wanted to go straight to town and drown in coffee. I went to the road and tried hitching for over an hour, surely I looked disheveled, no luck. I waited for the shuttle to take me to town.
In town I met up with hikers of course, some that I had been hiking with for the past few days, some I hadn't seen in a week, some I had never met before.
I went to pick up a mail drop. It was 18lbs, and I needed a moment to debate what to do as I already had significant food weight. Then, we I came back to post office to bounce my package, the clerk told me a second package just came in. I was rolling in food stuffs, literally bathing in oatmeal, thanks to Steph and her mom. Thank you very much to the both of them.
I spent the evening at the Partnership watching people eat pizza. I lingered too close to be respectful. I had to break a food trance, and realized I need to make a dinner. I cooked rice upon the fire. And was later offered a slice of pizza.
In tribute, I did it over again, and because I had spent over 40 hrs at Thomas Knob Shelter and I felt guilty for going slow. Pyro and I spent day hiking together, we got ahead with TG, Taser and Peck, and then left them at sunset. Pyro and I walked another 7 miles after dark. Then we stopped and a had a fire, cooked a meal. Pyro then camped, as I pushed on for another 14.
I walked all through the night, and reached Partnership just after 6am.
Together with Turtle, 45, Peck, Taser, TG, Pyro, Forest, and the new pup Vortex, we all dragged our feet in the morning. Turtle worked everyone up about a bad weather forecast for the evening. We heard severe thunderstorms were rolling in that day. We were reluctant to hike in bad weather.
So as they talked about shuttles and staying at a hostel for the night, I could visualize all of the money adding up, and I thought and said, "You guys should just throw me some beer money, I'll walk the 4.5 miles back to the road, and we can all stay at the shelter on top of the mountain for the night."
And so it happened that TG and I walked back to the road with Forest, who had left his car at the road to hike Mt. Rogers. I felt nimble without any weight in my pack. The miles went by easily.
Forest gave us a quick ride to the store, where we loaded up on snacks and beverages. Forest even resupplied on food and snacks out of his trunk. By the time we got back to the trail, we were weighed down heavy, back to hiking.
On the way back, there's a field in the toward the top of Mt. Rogers. TG and I cut through it and had this fun adventure for a couple hours. We walked the fields, until they started taking us too far down the hill, so we cut into the woods. We ended up on a horse trail, that had this amazing part to it where several streams flowed out onto the trail in cascades and flowed over the trail and continued in ribbons downhill.
We spent the rest of the day hanging around the shelter, with a couple other hikers that came in. It turned out to be a beautiful day for hiking, but we had an awesome day without hiking.
The storm hit after dark.
It slammed the shelter with high winds and rain. It woke us up, but we all stayed dry. The people camped out did not.
Friday, May 8, 2015
I pushed some miles this morning to get to Thomas Knob Shelter at the top of Mt. Rogers. Along the way, I bumped into Pyro and a section hiker named Forest. I walked their hike for a few miles, splitting up so they could do a meadow walk through the Grayson Highlands while I kept the white blaze.
I admired their freedom in finding their own path while I stuck to the one marked out for me. Im hopelessly committed to the white blaze at this point, I don't know why, it just feels right for me.
I took the .5 sidetrail to the top of Mt. Rogers, tallest peak in Virginia, but there wasn't a view. When I came back down, Pyro and Forest had just made it up the mountain.
We walked to the shelter together and were vortexed into a view of the Appalachian Mts. That view would last for the next 40hrs. We didn't stress doing more miles, letting the day unfold. I also wanted to wait up for 45, Peck, Taser, Thundergod and Turtle.
I spent the day eating meal after meal. Taking advantage of good weather and a fire, I ate five huge meals before I felt I was full. Pyro and I talked about night hiking, but as they day came to an end, and all of my friends caught up, I didn't want to do anything but sleep.
I don't know haw many miles we did, 10-12. I can't remember what shelter we stayed at, something knob or mountain. Doesnt really matter.
I dragged my feet today. In the morning, I met the new addition to the group. 45 walked in with a dog freshly adopted and new to the trail.
I stopped at a shelter, to play the guitar, to take a nap, to do whatever without feeling the urge to hike or push miles. My head just was not in hiking mode.