We all got out of the Graymoor Center reasonably early, despite the vast field that had to be crossed to get to the porta-potties. We all wanted to beat the heat. Toast and Rusty left as soon as there was enough light to travel by, hoping to make it to the Appalachian Trail Train Station in two days in order to get to NYC, and I left not too long after, maybe around seven. Noodle and Candy Pants were hot on my tail, as was evidenced by them catching me eating snacks on a rock at the first road crossing, pondering where I would find that day’s lake to swim in. Candy Pants had gashed open her knee something awful, bleeding all the way down to her socks, and stopped to clean and bandage it and decide whether or not to keep hiking. Continue reading
The weather and the trail coming away from the Nolichucky and Erwin were both nice, if cold. What with how nice it was, I was surprised to see Pilgrim marching back south saying “I’ve been praying all morning, and I’m ending my hike here. God is telling me my true purpose is providing to trail magic to the other hikers.” I never met him before, but it’s always sad to hear a thru-hiker is quitting.
It was only around 5 miles to the first shelter, and we had no intention of staying there, but the sky opened up and a nice day turned rainy as we climbed the last stretch to it. A large group was there waiting out the rain and eating lunch, including a guy who was crazy enough to be carrying 60 lbs. up the trail, a third his body weight! But the only one who stuck around when it stopped was Crow, a Hawaiian guy who was “taking the day off” by only walking to the first shelter and spending the night there. One interesting thing about this shelter was a hiking challenge inscribed on it with several rules, but the gist being that two hikers sharing a pack must leave no earlier than 5pm from the shelter to go to Rocky’s pizza in Erwin, order 2 large pizzas upon arriving, and bring them and a 12-pack of beer back to the shelter before dark. Clearly a challenge for summertime.