Day 42: May 26, 2022 Laurel to Ponds Flat Elevation Profile +4292/-3928 17.5 Miles; Total 425.5 Miles

We did it. Our highest mileage to date! We had a fairly early start at 6:30am and that made a huge difference! Sleeping next to the creek was nice, and no real condensation. I was pleasantly surprised.

Laurel Creek Campsite

The weather forecast is for rain the next few days. We wanted to get as many miles in before the impending doom was upon us. The morning was pretty easy. We stayed low and followed the creek most the morning. I’m not sure where everyone went, being we saw hardly no one on the trail. Maybe they all hunkered down in some unknown shelter or hostel. There were frogs and mushrooms, but outside of that, just Blue and I. We stopped briefly at Moreland Gap Shelter for hot tea and a morning snack. It was gonna be a cold day and it didn’t appear that the sun had any intentions of shining today.

Our Sad & Cold Faces in the Shelter

We started our climb after the shelter. As per Far Out, our navigational app, we were going to have views of Hump & Little Hump Mountain along with previous places we’ve come from. Surprise, surprise, the clouds moved in and our views were blocked by the big nasty storm headed our way.

Vista Overlook with Storm Enroute

Around 1pm, I mandated a snack break. I was cranky and hungry. Blue obliged but had her heart set on another Shelter for lunch. I promised we could stop there but I needed to eat if we planned to hike 17 plus miles today. Shortly, we entered Pond Mountain Wilderness. It had these beautiful slot canyons and lots of rocks that were chiseled into odd shaped stepping stones. We followed the canyon walls for a bit up time, climbed up above the river and suddenly dropped back down. The reward was a Cascading Waterfall that must’ve been 80-100’ tall. It sounded thunderous as the water was rushing over several layers of boulders. The last two days, we’ve seen numerous waterfalls.

Laurel Fork Falls

The trail was hard to follow and after dropping back into the canyon, it disappeared. No way, we didn’t go the wrong way again?? After checking our app, we were indeed, on track, but the trail was hidden on a rock wall. There was a narrow band of rocks that hug the canyon directly above the rushing river. At one point, I dropped my hiking pole and thought for sure it was going down river. I got down on my belly, and grabbed it before the pole floated downstream. I couldn’t imagine hiking this trail without my supersonic trekking poles!

Laurel Fork with AT on Rock Ledge

We stopped for lunch, and planned to finish up the day by climbing 2000’ up to Ponds Flat. The rain started and it hasn’t stopped. We did our last four miles with our umbrellas up and our heads down. We found a campsite just passed the flowing springs. We grabbed some water, pitched our tents and called it a day.

Many Bridges Crossed Today

I’m feeling good about our mileage and when I pulled up the elevation profile, I was shocked. I had no idea that we did what we did?!?! I suppose we finally got our trail legs and are destined for bigger miles. It’s been six weeks for me and four weeks for Blue. I’ve heard some hikers get in a grove within the first month while others it takes a couple of months. I am glad my feet have finally decided to get with the program and allowed me to do the miles without revolting! I know many times today I asked God if he could help me do these miles? It appears he answered my request and is giving me a nice foot massage while I get ready to sleep. With the faith that my sweet Lord has given me, I will continue on to the next destination. Thank you all for your continued prayers for health and safety, and for sharing God’s love along the way. They are being heard and are much appreciated.

2 thoughts on “Day 42: May 26, 2022 Laurel to Ponds Flat Elevation Profile +4292/-3928 17.5 Miles; Total 425.5 Miles

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