Lovely night of sleep. Woke up once to an Owl doing its Hooty-Hoot thing. Pretty cool. Evening temps have been perfect. Not too hot and not too cool, just right, as Goldilocks would say. I woke up before the birds. I’m so anxious to get into town. Much awaits for me. Real food, a new air mattress and the most needed, a hot shower!
I only have 10 miles to go today, easy peasy. So I thought. The first couple of miles were level, almost able to skip down the trail. But I’m known for getting a few mishaps so I’ll just keep my feet firmly planted. I crossed a couple of roads early this morning. Everyone is headed to work, school or wherever they need to be, in such a hurry. There are two things I don’t like to do while hiking. #1 is crossing the highways. There’s a lot of roadway crossings, railroad crossings and everything in between. These cars zip by at crazy neck speeds, without any caution to me and my hiking sticks! And #2 is hitchhiking. I can usually ask someone for a ride, or call for a shuttle, but every once in awhile, you just have to stick your thumb out and bum a ride. That’s when you need to always have a Plan B, when a sketchy driver stops. I either say, “Oops, I forgot something” or “do you mind if I take a picture of you and your license plate? My husband works for Homeland Security and he wants to know whenever I get into a car with a random stranger.” I’ve only had one person say no and sped away. Guess he wasn’t too keen on George hunting him down! Everyone else thinks it’s a grand idea.
After crossing my third highway, the trail took an advert left-hand turn and started climbing. The climbing isn’t so bad, but it’s Pennsylvania style. A rock/bouldering exercise. This means put your sticks away, kind of climbing. There’s a location on trail called the “Lemon Squeezer” but I don’t think I’m suppose to be there quite yet. What I figured is, the AT, wants me to start practicing now, so when it comes, I’ll be prepared.
I was huffing and puffing, trying to get my not-so-big butt up and over these boulders. I had to really psych myself out to get my foot up 2-3’, with my backpack on, and somehow someway pull my body up into a slot-like canyon. It’s hard to describe but boy oh boy, I was wishing for some burly guy or even a girl to come by and either pull me up or push me up. No such luck. So I just huffed and puffed and pulled myself up and over! And that was round one.
Welcome to the AT. This ain’t no easy task to get from south to north. It takes much more effort than I was expecting. But honestly, after hiking some 700 miles last year, I knew what I signed up for. Where’s Sid when I need him? He would’ve climbed it like a monkey and pulled me along. But then he’d want to take a nap after the first hour or two. That kid can sleep like no one’s business. Teenagers! But I had no Sid and there were no other hikers around, so this Grandma did what she had to do. Honestly, it was, we’ll just maybe, a little bit of fun. And that’s how my morning went.
After climbing up and over my fifth rock pile, I finally reached a summit of sorts. There was a plaque on the rock pile called Center Point Knob. What a welcome sight that was as it was the culmination of today’s Rocky Mountains. Okay, they’re not actually mountains as I don’t think a single one of my climbs were over 2,000’ but they felt like mountains to me.
The last three miles were downhill. I stopped and talked with an older guy in his mid-70’s or 80’s, who was staring at the top of the trees. He’s either Bird-Watching or there’s another bear in a tree. He convinced me he was just watching birds and cleaning up trash on the trail. He’s a local trailblazer and comes out regularly for his morning walks. All of the locals I have met are fit. It must have something to do with the fresh air, the dairy farms and the wholesome living. These locals are able bodied and willing to hike!
Another gal I talked with had a JanSport backpack on. I had one of those back in the 70’s. She said she plans to hike this summer and the pack belonged to her Dad. She was testing it out to see if it would suffice. So far she’s quite happy with it. It’s an external frame with lots of pockets and fits her quite well. She had to get scooting, as she had kiddos at home and needed to get them off to school.
My last mile or so was through farmland. It was laced with tics! That’s #3 scariest thing on the AT! The grasses were being mowed as I was walking through but I still managed to brush up against the un-mowed section of trail. Within a minute, I had my first tic encounter, on my hand. I knocked that bugger off me so fast and high tailed it out of those grasses. The trail takes me right through the town of Boiling Springs.
Boiling Springs is not the thriving metropolis that I was thinking. It’s a small community with a Post Office, Fly Fishing Outpost and a Cafe. I headed to the Outpost as my fuel ran out this morning just as I was making my morning brew. Perfect timing as I was heading to town and could resupply. My second stop was the Post Office but they are closed for lunch between 12-1pm. So I walked to the Cafe. “Sit where you want and I’ll get to you ASAP.” It was nice to sit down on a chair with a proper table. The small things. The gal came out, gave me a menu and I ordered Iced Tea with splash of lemonade-Arnold Palmer style. Then I texted Lisa, the owner of the Hostel I planned to stay at. She called me back immediately and said her husband will be there in five minutes. Okay, I’ll eat my trail food instead, ugh. The waitress said not to worry about the Iced Tea. It was on the house. Thanks, and I donned my backpack and within a couple of minutes, Lisa’s hubby arrived. He whisked me to the Post Office but I guess overnight express doesn’t count in Boiling Springs. No box, no mattress, hopefully tomorrow.
Lisa’s husband drove me to their home, showed me around quickly, jumped back in his truck and went to work. I’m here alone on their beautifully manicured property with access to a hot shower and a flush toilet. First things first, take a shower. Oh what heaven. They have loaner clothes so you don’t have to put your funky dirty clothes on after showering. Lisa promised to do my laundry when she gets home. What the life of luxury. I could get used to this.
I still have a lot more miles, so I’ll enjoy the smell of a freshly bathed body, clean clothes and electricity. No town food but there’s a George Foreman Grill, bread and cheese. Oh boy, it’s gonna be a joyful night!
4 thoughts on “Day 6: May 22, 2023 Ridge CS to Boiling Springs – Lisa Hostel Elevation +1975/-2134 Miles 10.1/96.1; 1124.3”
Congratulations on the boulder climb! I love reading your blog, Kelly! Prayed for you this morning, that you will experience The Lord in a special way. You certainly are his light along the path.
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So far it all seems quite pleasant except for the tics! Hope the weather stays good for you.. it all looks beautiful and love that you are communing with our Lord with others and yourself of course. What a wonderful feeling you must have knowing you are spreading the word! Gotta love it💕
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Kelly I sure pray your new mattress arrives by the time wake tomorrow. I’m curious, is Sid going to join you this summer?? I’ve been wondering if he got the bug to start seriously hiking?? Last summer’s stories with Sid were priceless.
God bless and stay safe!
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I would love for Sid to join me, but I think it was one & done for him 🤣. But you never know. Crazier things have happened.