Another yummy breakfast. The worst part was the fact that after eating all the amazing fat-laden food, I couldn’t just sit and be a “fat cat!” We had to leave our compound, our attic space and hit the trail! Around 10am, Blue and I reluctantly walked back to the AT.
Our game plan was to hike 15 miles a day for the next five days and that would get us to Damascus for dinner on Sunday. With the late start, our first day of 15’s fell short. So be it. It’ll all work out in the next few days. Our morning was nice. Good weather, perfect temperature of 70’s and no threatening rain. We jumped on the trail and went back into the forest.
Easy miles came as we headed north. We exited the forest and started walking through extremely tall grasses. As we continued, there was a hidden sign that boasted of a Hostel ahead. Hmm, didn’t know there was one so close by, but we needed to log some miles. Blue was leading as I followed right behind, and we both missed the turnoff to the AT. We kept climbing uphill until we reached the top of a plateau when Blue realized we were temporarily misplaced! In other words, we were off trail. I was busy taking pictures and was oblivious to Map Reading 101. Yep, looked on my app and sure enough we were way off trail. I immediately realized our error back at the Hostel signage. I headed back down the wrong trail and sure as can be, the AT made a distinct right turn. If only I could log the extra credit miles, I’d be in Maine by now!
Back on trail, we left the tall grasses and went back into the woods. We climbed another hill, but this time it was the right one, and headed right back down. At the bottom, was the Issac Cemetery. It was one of the nicest, picturesque plots of land for laying your family to rest. Ends up that it is part of the Issac’s Family Parcel. If you desire to bury your family, you must ask one of the Board Members, and once they agree, $100 deposit will allow you to start digging. There were maybe 50-75 gravestones dating back to the late 1800’s. It appears that families like The Campbell’s, Issac’s, Elliot’s and Gilbert’s (my Mothers Maiden Namesake) are prime users of this cemetery. I find it so fascinating all the historical mentions along this trail. We spent quite sometime walking around and reading the tombstones.
Once leaving the Cemetery, we headed to Jones Falls. It’s a side trail that’ll take you pass a spring. The Falls is 100’ or more. There’s a rope that dangles from above and if you feel brazen enough, have at it and climb to the upper ledge. I was quite content soaking my feet and relaxing. Blue wanted more and felt compelled to take the challenge to rope climb. She made it to the ledge and on her way down, said my view from down below were better. Oh, sometimes wisdom is greater than valor. But I commend her for taking it on.
Today was another milestone. I crossed over the 400 mile mark! I have so much further to go but every mile closer, sure keeps me motivated. Blue has done nearly all of those miles with me. She arrived on Mile 136.2 so she’s definitely a long distant hiker. And to think, Blue has never backpacked more than a couple of days prior to joining me. She’s a rockstar! And one heck of a backpacker too.
There were some new faces on the trail. I first met Lenny who plays the ukulele. He was sitting by a tree as we headed up the trail this morning. Then came On My Knees who prays a lot and at times, he says he’s crawling to camp. I can totally relate to that. And then Pirate and Stormy who are a couple hiking together. There were plenty of day hikers and a few slack packers that we recognized from the hostel. This section is relatively easy and has some nice vistas with plenty of water. By late afternoon, Blue and I tapped out and found a nice campsite on Laurel Creek. Perfectly suited for our two tents. We arrived shortly after 5:30pm and started our evening chores of building our houses, fetching water, bathing at the creek (that’s an added bonus) and making dinner. It appears that we will have a nice evening without any invasions of water droplets on our tents. Well maybe a bit of condensation, but I’ll take that. Tomorrow, more miles!
“Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”
Psalms 37:3-4 NIV