Friday 31st August
Paul had put an extra sleeping bag in my tent as it was predicted to be cold . So, I was so toasty last night and there was no hurry to get up.
But my body clock woke me at 6am so I dozed listening to the pinecones dropping on the tarp above my head.
At 8 I finally emerged visited the porta loo then wandered back to my tent. It was like my pack had exploded in my tent there was stuff everywhere.
my new buckle had arrived from Osprey, so I fitted that and adjusted the hip belt . glued on my hiking patches .then began to pack. My new tent stuff sack had arrived, so I swapped that over.
Again, I seemed to have a ton of food . one day I will get that right. I wandered back to the main area there were a few hikers moving out. I sat at the table while money penny (English gal) cooked me breakfast while I waited, I grabbed a brownie made by local lady . which are fantastic.
I drained my coffee and grabbed another. then scoffed my breakfast. It was a gorgeous morning as I sat in the sun. I really didn’t want to move.
Paul came back from shuttling and said you guys are going to have great views on the summit’s today.
It’s no good I need to move. I went back.to my tent and finished packing. Then I hoisted up my pack Omg it’s heavy . I said my goodbyes and walked up the drive and back to the road. it’s .3 back to the trail . I passed several hikers going the other way
One asked me about the Hiker hut. I said that I liked it and that it worked for me and that he does do shuttles to town.
I reached the trail head crossed over and began to. Hike it has just gone 9 am .
It was nice and cool as I headed into the forest . it was going to.be several large climbs but oddly I was really looking forward to them
My first was going to be Saddle Back mountain, the biggest climb of the day The start was gentle., passing several lovely lakes . I met many sobos and short hikers. crossed several bogs then the climbing started. then Kaleidoscope and her man came through . Fuck am .I that slow . we gave each other abuse laughing see you guys up the trail.
It was just over 3 hours till I submitted Saddle back and wow the views were totally amazing .Wow it was a great day to hike a clear day so I could see for miles. Kaleidoscope and ahem were just finishing their lunch as I arrived.
So, as they got up. I took. Their spot. I enjoyed some on a is but really, I could have sat here all day as the views were just breathtaking.
eventually I hiked on as I had my next mountain to climb named the Horn, but of course I must go down first. From the top of Saddleback, it was easy to see my route and in the distance was Kaleidoscope. Wow they got there fast but yes, they are fast.
The down wasn’t too bad, and I was soon climbing again and the up was fairy sketchy in places. As I climbed, I ran into another trail crew who were replacing some stairs (Rock steps) Great job a said puffing and panting . Before continuing
At last the trail began to get easier, thank you . I began to climb up huge rock slabs so didn’t take too long until i was at the top of the horn whoop whoop. Again the views were incredible .
Okay Snail 1 more to climb today then we can camp .
The down from this one was fairly crappy, huge rocks to clamber over, gnarly roots to trip you, so I came down slow in fact incredibly slow . But I don’t want to fall and hurt myself or break some thing especially this close to the end .
Eventually the trail flattened out and i was able to pick up the pace until I came across another group of hikers . I stopped to chatted to them. They were helping Pappy. a fairy famous 87 yr Old hiking the
Appalachian Trail. The last time I saw him was in the Shenandoah’s, So I grabbed another opportunity to get a photo with him .
“What a great inspiration you are” I said .
Okay off to my final climb Saddleback Junior. Again, the climb wasn’t too bad although I had to navigate over many bogs before reaching solid ground . Once at the top i was rewarded with amazing views, that just kept getting better. I could see the whole route that I had just completed. I stood staring for several minutes before starting the decent.
I’m about to descend, when a group of 10 young students appeared below me puffing their way up. They are on orientation or to me Team building . Once they had all climbed up, I began my descent. it was steep and slippery then the mud appeared. I navigated around these until the duck boards reappeared The trail eventually acceptable allowing me to put in some spurts of speed.
I began to smell POO the smell associated with Privies lol . I must be close I thought then saw the privy. Maybe it’s the rock or water source but they seem to be built a long way from camp. Tents I can see tents and then the shelter. I dropped my pack found a flat spot then put up my tent.
There seemed a lot of people here many students (orientation) who were camped away from the main site in the trees .There were 3 others hikers near to the shelter.
I grabbed water then began cooking supper. One of the other hikers has hung his hammock in the shelter That’s a Big No No .!!
After dinner I lit a fire and we all sat chatting. As we did another group of students arrived who were doing another orientation? again they headed a little way into the woods.
As we sat chatting by the fire I was asked if I had tried a ‘Smore’
“Nope what is it ?
It’s a marshmallow that you toast so its golden then you sandwich between 2 biscuits and a square of chocolate. it’s better if the biscuits have been close to. The fire so that the chocolate is soft or melty.
I am a Brit who really hadn’t heard of smores . But once home (UK) was ridiculed by all my kids and friends . As they all knew what smores were and had often had them !!
“Sounds yummy and I know my DAUGHTER would love them” I said
As we talked , one of the guys from the student group came over to ask if we minded if they came to the fire after they had eaten. The rest of the hikers said to him this British guy doesn’t know what a smore is !!
Oh, he said then returned several minutes later with all the bits the biscuits , the chocolate and of course marshmallows.
They then began to demonstrated how to make one.
Wow I’m Hooked I love them we sat chatting for ages until it was way past my bed time
Miles left. 210