After yesterdays easy peasy day, anything was gonna be strenuous. We did the exact same miles both days but tacked on close to a 4500’ climb today. No wonder I was dragging into camp this afternoon. The hardest part was the last two miles that was a quasi stair climb. Nothing but endless brutality on this trail.
We hit the trail after 7am which was a bit late start for us. There’s some correlation between leaving town and the following day on trail. We never seem to have all of our facilities with us. Typically it takes a day or two to detox from the belly full of food and the consumption of alcohol. Blue and I do not drink on trail but in town, we might have one or two beers or a cocktail of sorts. So needless to say, it takes a bit of time for us to get back in our groove.
From the time we left camp, it was an uphill slog. We didn’t see another nobo hiker till lunch. We either have bolted ahead or the others are staying in Damascus for another day. The early morning climb was in the green tunnel. Tall Sycamores, Oaks and Chestnuts canopied over the trail with Mountain Laurel, Azalea and Ferns blanketed the forest floor. I never get tired of this combination as it provides sun protection and stays relatively cooler. By 11am, we reached Buzzard Rock and the landscape took a huge turn.
Buzzard Rock is a secondary summit to Whitetop Mountain. It is a grassy knoll that provides excellent views in all directions. We stopped and had our lunch on a grassy bench. It felt so good to kick off my shoes and socks and run my toes in the grass. Second best, only after soaking my feet in a creek! As I was sitting, I could see three buzzards heading our way. They were riding the wind currents and ca-ing as they approached. You could tell they were having a blast, playing in the wind, chasing each other and laughing at us as they flew overhead! What fun it would be to be a bird for a day.
We packed up and headed up towards the Grayson Highlands where the pony’s roam wild and free. This part of the AT is one of the favorites for many people. The pony’s were brought to this area in 1970’s to help keep the Balds clear and graze the lands. There are close to 100 pony’s and the mares breed once a year. They look like small Shetland pony, and are considered feral. The issue is these pony’s have been fed by hikers and many others, and now they are a bit of a nuisance. Many hikers say they’ll come up and nimble on you, trying to get a treat or two. I’ll let you know how it goes for us.
We saw our first pony this afternoon. There were about 5-6 pony’s, some mamma’s with their colts and other pony’s all by themselves. They are quite pretty and seemed to be content eating grasses and ferns. No handouts from us but there was one I petted. We continued up the hill, climbed many steps and finally arrived at our bluff.
Tonight will be a cold night as we are on top of this lovely bluff overlooking the hills below and mountains in the background. We have a bit of protection from the berry bushes, that unfortunately, are not ready to eat. Blue and I set up camp pronto, made dinner, curry rice with vegetables and no meat, arg! I need protein. My next resupply will be a Roasted Chicken from Costco. Gosh, wouldn’t that be the story of the trail. Hiker brings roasted chicken to AT and is chased down by hungry bear! Perfect. Honestly, I have everything I need. Thank you Lord for providing all the nourishment that I require and blessing me beyond measure.
“And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.”
2 Corinthians 9:8 NIV
One thought on “Day 48: June 1, 2022 Laurel Cr to Mt Roger’s Elevation Profile +4491/-1746 14.2 Miles; Total 499.1 Miles”
Great trail going great guns !
So nice you petted that pony !
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