Fellow 2013 thru-hiker spotted in an Atlanta cafe. I slackpacked with Javaman between Woods Hole and Pearisburg. Rainbow Braid, Ice Cream, and Charlotte, all of whom I met near Pearisburg, are also now living in the Atlanta area. What a miraculous chance discovery, given that I wasn’t able to find them on the book of faces.
I left before any of the other guys I camped with, hoping to make it into Branchville and get Copper back from Bob. It got muggy and hot really quickly, and the trail mostly went along the top of a ridge, exposed, treeless, continuous views, much like it had through most of Pennsylvania. In fact, it was the same ridge. Somehow, despite the scorching sun, I managed to avoid getting sunburnt. It was a very busy day on the trail, and most of the folk on it were day hikers and short sectioners. Not much happened. I passed Crater Lake, strongly tempted to jump in, but more eager to get my dog back, and climbed straight up a rock wall to the cliff that ran along the lake. I stopped on a rock to eat some bagels while listening to my audiobook, and somehow a snapping, flomping sound caught my attention even through the headphones. I turned to spot a young black bear galloping speedily down the hill through the underbrush. Everyone said I’d see bear in New Jersey, but this one that I could barely make out as it fled was the only one.
I know I’m over 3 weeks behind now. I’m writing this from a library in Connecticut, and you can only reserve a computer for a half-hour at a time here. I can’t write long posts on my phone because the hardware keyboard is fried. I’ve ordered a new one under warranty and it has already chased me across half the country. When it finally catches me, I’ll take a zero to set it up and get as much writing done as I can. In the meantime, you’ll just have to be as patient as I have to be right now.
If anyone has any mp3 audiobooks just sitting around on their drives, please let me know. I’ve finished the last of the ones I got before the beginning of the trip, and getting new ones is very difficult without a proper computer.
I have the next post almost written, but it won’t be up until tomorrow night, and then probably another will go up the day after, but I just wanted to collect some materials here about the events at Trail Days. I wasn’t there and I don’t know whether I have met anyone who was involved because there is no public list of names, but here is what I’ve found:
Clever Girl comments on the events and gives a link to the AP report:
The police radio calls immediately following the accident:
An eye witness account:
This is where followup information will appear about how to donate to the medical funds of the injured lacking insurance (as many hikers do):
I learned something about my phone when my last post uploaded: it can drop from 70% to 10% in the space of ten minutes when the radio is running. I also learned something about the usb cable that came with my mobile battery: it can’t be used to charge my phone. As a result, for two days after my last posting, I was completely without use of my phone, and I didn’t have paper to take notes on either, so this update will be covering 5 days from memory.
From Spence Field, my next target shelter was Silers Bald, which meant crossing the (usually) most difficult piece of trail in the Smokies, up over Rocky Top and Thunderhead, down to Derrick Knob and then doing the first half of the long, slow climb to the top of Clingman’s. Rocky Top is supposed to have about the finest view in the Smokies, but the visibility was poor all that day, as a fog had rolled in following the snow that morning. I made it to Derrick Knob by 2:30, and decided to change pants and eat a bite. Burt (Wildcat) and Roy were already in there putting together a fire to warm the thru-hikers. Wildcat is an old notorious triple-crowner (AT, PCT, CDT) who works at an outfitter in Maryville. He gave me a piece of peppermint chocolate, some cheesesticks, and a trail name: Blast. Roy let me try to charge off his mobile battery, but, of course, it was unsuccessful, though I hadn’t figured out why yet. Of course, because the temperature was below freezing all day, my hose to my waterbag had frozen solid, so I melted it in front of the fire before I left. Of course it refroze within minutes of leaving.