June 23rd 2018
Seeley-Woodworth Shelter – tentsite (mile 845.7)
23.9 miles
Total miles: 862.6


It rained a lot during the night. I was thankful to be in the shelter and not in an already wet tent. I slept surprisingly well and woke at 5:37am. It must be the bird or the light or something because every morning when I look at the clock and see it’s before 6am and I think why?!

I was planning a shorter day today. The plan was to do 20 miles to a shelter and get there before 6 so I could have some time to relax, then it would only leave 20 to do to town tomorrow, with less elevation gain. 

Short Shorts planned to do an alternate trail which cut off 5 miles of the AT so I probably wouldn’t see him until I got into town the next day. He packed up and left, after making coffee in is cat food tin stove very close to my head, and I left a bit after at 7:45am. No need to rush today. 

img_3389img_3390

The morning was pleasant. It was gentle ups and downs, the forest was still misty but the sun came out in patches and it was a nice temperature. I was strolling today. Normally my legs just go without me having to think about it, but today I was constantly thinking about each step, about moving each leg. I had to will my legs to move forward when they really didn’t want to. 

img_3393

I stopped at a shelter to get some water and eat some of my food. A while ago I packed out this deli turkey stuff and it was really nice, they didn’t have that this time so I decided to try the ham instead. Mistake. The ham was gross. I will be getting rid of that at the next trash can I come across. There was a huge group of kids at the shelter but thankfully they were just leaving when I got there, I went straight to the privy which is on the more disgusting end of the privy scale. 

The trail descends about 3000ft to the Tye river and normally I like the downhills. I can pick up the pace and whizz down the trail. Not today. My body was not happy about going downhill. It felt constantly like my legs were going to buckle under me and my knees were going to give out. I was going so slowly! Slower than my uphill pace and that’s really saying something.

By the time I had got to the river I had done 11 miles in 6 hours. There is taking it easy and there is going really slow. I was actually grateful that I was going uphill after the river. It seemed easier than the downhill. I needed to pick up the pace a bit otherwise I wouldn’t get to the shelter until 8pm at this rate 

Ee9cAA4rR16ux20m6T%SyQPq9Z9nVcQLCu0t1H62QyzgmYbgDeELT9OdmddffV5vCAp3r15gDDRG2wBe3%GcOb%A1MZDl7UmTcuCmrw9p6snHAIMG_3420XvDK8Bw3TiyThCzcAtCzeQ

So after descending 3000ft I set about climbing back up 3000ft to Chimney Rock and then on to Three Ridges peak. I saw so many people coming towards me. It was a Saturday so we have lots of weekend warriors and day hikers out and about. I saw a group of three men doing some trail maintenance, they were clearing all the plants from the side of the trail, they call it bushwhacking. 

One group of people who passed me had a really horrible dog who was barking at me very aggressively and they told me he was friendly. He doesn’t sound friendly I said! I also heard them say just before, “oh look there’s an AT hiker, we had better hide all our candy”. As I stood aside to let them all by I wish I had said “go quickly, before I steal all your candy!” But I just smiled and nodded. 

Compared to the descent earlier the climb wasn’t too bad. Of course the sun came out just in time for the climb and as I neared the top the clouds gathered and the mist rolled in so I got no views. The climb up to the first peak, Chimney Rock, was very rocky and a bit slippy. The rocks really slowed me down a bit because I was trying not to to break an ankle or a trekking pole. 

The other side of Chimney Rock is where the bushwhacking had ended (or begun I guess), and it was a noticeable difference, the vegetation was brushing up against you over the trail. The mist really set in for the last 1000ft up to Three Ridges, but thankfully the rocks became less intense. At the top I turned my phone on and got a message from Short Shorts saying he was at the brewpub. 

WQzB5mXfTsSYNCscHUDTxA

The brewpub is 5 miles off trail but really hiker friendly we have heard, you get to it by hitching from the road crossing which was 2 miles further than I had planned to go today. It was 5pm. It was 5 more miles to the road. I could make it. Why not? 

I text him to ask if he was going to stay there, they let hikers camp for free, but I didn’t get a reply. I moved quickly, quicker than I had done all day so I could get to the road while it was still light. This time I moved at a normal pace on the downhill and I made it to the road just after 7pm. 

There were two other hikers there, two Australians! Fine Dining and I can’t remember the girls name. They where trying to hitch with not much success. I called the pub because I had heard they offer shuttles. They sounded really busy and put me on hold. The lady told me to call back in 20 minutes to see if she could find anyone to come and get us. 

Two more hikers arrived looking for the pub and we all lounged about on the road waiting to see if anyone would give us a ride. A car pulled up and Short Shorts got out. What are you doing here?? You told me to come to the pub! About 10 seconds after he got out the car the shuttle from the pub pulled in and everyone piled in to the ride I had got them. 

Why didn’t you stay? I asked. “It was really expensive and I didn’t like the vibe” he replied. So I made a split decision not to go to the pub. I wasn’t ravenous and I didn’t really want to pay for an overpriced gastro burger and a beer that I don’t really like. The others were looking forward to a shower but I thought I could go without one of those too. 

When Sunshine something – and I’m calling him that because I can’t remember what the second part of his trail name is, not because that’s his name – arrived at the road I asked him if he had been for a swim somewhere because he had water dripping off his shorts. He asked me if I was trying to be funny. No, I wasn’t. He said he was just a very sweaty man. I really can’t imagine what it’s like to sweat so much it drips off your shorts. 

So they all went off to the pub and I carried on along the trail with Short Shorts to find somewhere to camp. What am I doing? I only wanted to do 20 miles today and I’ve ended up doing 24 and not getting to camp until 8:15pm. Another 12.5 hour day! 

MVoIPy1yRQ+4mdVisXhx9Q

The camp site we are at is a bit sketchy. It’s on a bit of a slope and it’s really rocky. Short Shorts tried to cowboy camp but the mosquitoes were too much and he ended up pitching his tent. I shovelled in some crisps and some cheese for dinner. 


Watch the video!

For this trip I made a daily video diary which you can watch here: DAY 46

 

 


 

Advertisements