Miles hiked: 7.9
Today began a little before 9am and was significantly better than yesterday. The initial section of trail after Springer Mountain was very mellow and I was able to complete the first three miles in just over an hour.
Frequently through today’s miles I had to cross raging rivers (small streams), barely making it out alive. Some of the streams had cool log “bridges” built to get over them, others had real bridges to cross.
I also spent a good section of the morning criss-crossing the Benton MacKaye Trail, which also starts at Springer Mountain. For those who don’t know, Benton MacKaye is the guy who dreamed up the Appalachian Trail. For a short distance, both trails walk the same path.
I reached Three Forks, the halfway point for today’s miles, right around 11am. Around mile five, the trail started to get a little tougher than the earlier section and my pace slowed a bit. It was right around this time that I ran into one of the guys who started at the approach trail with me the day before. We walked for about a half mile, then I stopped for lunch and he kept going.
It was around 1pm when I reached the creek that’s just before the shelter. My feet were pretty beat and I was quite happy to be at the end of my goal for today. I filled up all my water, sat down and drank an entire bottle, then filled up again before moving on. I walked into camp about 1:20pm.
Several people were already at camp. One of the more interesting groups were four college girls who traveled from New Hampshire down here to hike the Georgia section of the AT over their Spring Break. I just thought it was cool that instead of partying or going on some standard vacation, they choose to spend 10 days backpacking through the woods.
Another guy, an ex-Marine, started the trail back in February but broke his foot. He waited six weeks, even though the doctors told him to wait 10-16 weeks, and started hiking the trail again. The seal on his water bladder broke and later on he noticed his canteen was also leaking. I gave him the extra water bladder I wasn’t using. I need to drop as much weight from my pack as possible anyways.
There are some other people here with interesting stories about the Whites in New Hampshire and how fast the climate can change there. Luckily that’s a long way off and hopefully I’ll be ready for it by the time I get there, assuming I make it that far.
Got my first blister on the heel of my left foot, which is no surprise to me as it was the one bugging me most of the day. Just one more reason I need to get new shoes as soon as possible.