Day 37 Heading to Damascus and Trail days 2018

Thursday 17th May

The shelter was awake early , 3 socks and another hiker were almost packed.
I released the air out of my mat and climbed out of bed, put on my shoes and went to the loo.
Once back I quickly packed up then made tea .
Okay I was ready. I hoisted my pack and set off Damascus here I come.
As I left I passed a camp of university students morning guys i  said  as i  walked
The trail was similar to yesterday, a  few big climbs at first then a roller-costa trail
As  I pushed on my right toe began to  hurt, I blocked it out and pushed on . I was in no hurry as I did the miles yesterday so it should be an easy day. Ping went my watch informing me an hour had passed.  It was a glorious day and  warm all ready, i would  love a breeze please .
I pushed on for another 2 hours the pain in my foot not relenting, and  so when I came to an old disused shelter I decided to stop to do foot maintenance.

I taped the  toes on my left foot, my right foot was swollen,not a lot  I can do about that.
I ate some snacks before  putting  my socks and shoes back on and set off my shoes are now beginning to fail but hopefully there are new ones waiting for me in Damascus !!
I pushed on passing water, Should i stop  i said  to myself  but still pushed on . After an hour I checked my map., bugger the water at the shelter is far away oh well.
At last I arrived at the shelter, there was another hiker already here.
Where is the water I asked, and is it far ?
Yes it is he replied
I dropped my pack and headed down the  path .Water was .2 of a mile and  down a steep decent.
But the water was good. I filtered a litre and promptly guzzled it. I then grabbed another 2 litres and began the climb back.
I had just arrived back at the shelter when 3 socks turned up.
Yes it’s far and steep I said .
I ate more snacks and then made tea.
I was just beginning to pack up when Beth and Dan arrived  shortly  followed by captain Bob.
I stayed for a while then set off although it want long until Beth caught me.
I shadowed her for a while as we chatted but Beth’s too fast for me so let her go.
Dan was next to catch   me. and again, I shadowed him for a while as I was staying with them in Damascus.
We shortly caught up with Beth who was resting and waiting.
As Dan & Beth live here they were familiar with this part of the trail as they often run it together.
We are almost their snail trainer , Beth said.   and sure enough we were soon dropping down towards the town .
As we  got nearer    there  were  little pockets  of  tents  where hikers had  claimed their  spot .
The  trail actually  goes  through   the town  and  so we  were  soon in daylight and  could  see  the    Festival  in front  of  us.
Dan & Beth stopped by   a  house  which  belonged to friends to  pick up their keys .
Then  we  headed towards  trail days , Passing  through  the  arch, we posed  for  photos   then wandered  through  the  festival  pausing to look at  the  stalls and to see if there were any bargains  to get .
WE walked through and out the other side. At this end was a calaboose and a small train. WE turned right and headed up the main street that was packed with hikers and signs promoting free food hot showers. Beth & Dan lived at the far end of town, as we approached we noticed two figures sat in the doorstep one was whitely and the other tank.
Dan was a little miffed that  they were  there, as he  had only invite   close mates  to  his  house
Their house was really  lovely , I dropped my pack outside as BETH & Dan introduced me to their lodger a young girl who was    into canoeing .
Then beer  was opened , Later Big Red and  Magic arrived, I  had  bagged  the right  sofa  and  so  they had  the chair  and  other couch.
Once we were settled  we  retreated top  the porch to chill and  drink  more  beer , As  the afternoon wore  on a familiar stream  of familiar  faces  arrived  , turning into a great  party atmosphere

Start 451
Finish 469
mileage 16 miles
Remaining 1723 Miles

Day 36 Heading to Double spring Shelter Mile 451

I woke to pouring rain and decided to use the bathroom first.
Then I packed as much kit into my pack as I could before trying to take my tent down from within.
It took a while as every thing was soaked but soon I was packed I wandered up to the hostel . Dan & Beth were having breakfast so i joined them and  poured myself a coffee grabbed a banana and several nectarines and enjoyed the moment. I grabbed another coffee then filled my water bladder and I was ready . I was just about to leave when  i fancied a lemonade so brought a tin  that  I quickly drained.
Some hikers were Slackpacking this is where they are dropped up the trail with out their pack then hike back.
I personally think this is cheating or not in the spirit of hiking, but that’s my opinion.
It didn’t happen on the PCT but seems common on this trail.
As I made my way down the road I remembered my pizza in the fridge oh well I’m not going back now . I crossed the road and began the trail which took me around a beautiful lake or it would have been if the mist wasn’t hiding it
It was  pouring with rain as I followed the trail around the lake.
As I came to a junction I was confused on which way to go, as I was deciding  which  way to go .three American hikers  that i met  yesterday appeared.
Straight on they  said
I let them pass , then tagged onto their train and followed them for many miles as I liked their pace amd  could keep with them.
Eventually they stopped for a break ,but i carried on until I came to the first shelter my lunch stop so  I dropped my packed and was relaxing when the 3 Americans appeared .
I enjoyed  my  beak and lunch and then was just about to leave when Beth and Dan turned up.  We  chatted  as we walked, discussing mileage . What did I need to do!
Okay, so 20 miles will take me here. or 23 will take me to.!!
I fancied the last option , so pushed on as Dan & beth  took a break. I hadn’t gone far when it began to chuck it down. I pushed on pounding through the puddles.
I seem to be able to hike much faster in the rain, maybe it was because the ground was soft, or  maybe because  I could switch my brain off.
It wasnt lomg until  the  second shelter came into view. I stopped ,signed the book before pushing on as  I was on a mission and wanted that 23 miles .
At last the rain stopped and the sun tried to shine meaning that i neded to stop to take off my rain jacket as I was soon roasting.
I stoed my  jacket  before  contnuing  on, it was now  hot  but the trail still resembled a river , but i felt  good as  i pushed on .
Eventually I emegerd  out by  a road, I looked around the trail head and  noticed another hiker  named called Green bean sat on the fence We chatted for a moment before i crossed over the road.
The first mile had been especially designed for wheelchair users and so the gradient was very low as it snaked through the field.

At the end of this stretch was a view-point with an actual perfect view of the mountains.
I sat on the bench and  took a few snaps before moving on, The next field had cows in the first that I had seen on this trail. I crossed into the field and followed huge stone blocks that marked the trail. The hours ticked by as my legs began to grow weary , now where is that shelter.
I came to water and automatically filled up, there were  some nice spots to put my tent. But no I wanted that 23 miles so pushed on .

At last  the  shelter and my traget for the day appeared , okay need a place for my tent . Theres room inside a voice said ,
Great  i  said  and  dropped my pack
A hiker named  3 socks asked if I wanted to finish her spaghetti. ?
I grabbed the packet and woofed the content. then set up my bed before cooking my own supper.
As we sat there , mice began scurrying about in the rafters.Nice!
and it wasnt even dark
There were 5 of us in the shelter and soon we were all asleep.

Start 428
Finish 451
mileage 23 miles
Remaining 1739 Miles

Day 35 Heading to Boots-off Hostel mile 428

Tuesday 15th may .

I was determined to make a good start so I was up early and packed by 6.30. drank my tea and wolfed a Danish and hit the trail at 7
It was cool and overcast perfect hiking weather for me.
The trail started with a small but steep climb then I was on my way .

I am not a fast hiker, more of a plodder, but i am doing the miles . I felt I was  amking fast  profress until handstand and another hiker zoomed past me . It is a little intimidating but hey hike your own hike.
I pushed on and  passed Bumble Bee, who was camping in a field, why  you  here i asked  as  your get a lot f condesation
Bumble be point  to a tree, i wanted to  go  there  but  the spot was taken ,
“Laters”  i said  and  pushed on
Several miles later   i came  across the  hikers who I met  at the shelter but  whp had decided  to hike on. I was impressed  with  the mileage that they had made. and i guess a lot of it in the dark.
I pushed on until I came to water, I drank a litre and topped upmy bladder. It was 2 miles to laurel falls  which was my  first target.
AS  i crossed  over a road   i  entered another park and  joined the river, I  following the river for a while before  crossing  over a bridge. Once across the  climbing started , I climbed up and  over  rejoining  the  river on the other side.
I then continued to follow  the river  as it flowed far below me.  It was time to climb down. the decent was down huge stone steps  that took me a while.  AS  i made my decent  the  roar  of the falls gready staedily  louder  then  i  could see them. Wow this decent was well worth the effort as the falls were magnificent. some mad people were swimming  in the pool  in the front of the falls.
I stayed for about  30 minutes  enjoying the  stunning  views of the falls, before moving on. The trail followed the river for most of the day before a huge climb.
At 1pm ,I decided to stop for lunch  and relax before tackling the next climb.
Several hikers streamed past  me , so  i  packed up  and  headed off   continiing to followed  the river  . I then caame across a huge wooden log  bridge   that  spanninmg  the river ,
Once across it was time to climb . this first climb took me 2 hr and once again  it seemed  a pointless climb. with  no view  and no purpose. But this is the AT.
I have to say it was so humid that my shorts were soaked, I  thought that i had a leaaking  water bottle but no it was my sweat. YUCK.
At last I was at the top  and typivally on most of these climbs   imeaditly  statterd my decent. As i made my way down i began to hear thunder rumble in the distance .
I may be getting wet, as I began the ever ending spiral down I was sudden it passed by Beth and Speedy .
Where are you  heading  snail Beth  said ?
Not  really sure    i  replied  laughing
We are  trying to get to Boots  offf, If  you  make  it  there Snail , do you fancy coming out for dinner later  “
“Of course” I replied.
Beth and Speedy  were  so  fast they wee soon  goon.
It was 2 miles to the hostel so I pushed  on trying to  crunch  the miles as fast as I could An  hour I arrived  at the Hostel, but sadly no more rooms . I checked in grabbed a soda then the heavens opened.
I quickly found a tent spot and put up my tent as quickly as i could before everything got soaked once  my tent  was up  I  sorted  out my gear.
OKay  i  need a shower , i walked back  to  the main building and found the showers  The shoers were great  , powerful and  hot,   Once  done  i went to find Bethand Dan.
they were in one of the bunk houses,  ,Sat outside was Bumble Bee  so  i  cahatted  for  her  for a while , before Beth   arrived shortly followed by Dan .
They went to  meet their friends,
Snail are  you coming ?
I dint want to intrude   but  their freinds were  graeat ,
How  are we all going to  get  to  the resturant?”  asked  one  of their  freinds
Snail  will you be okay in the trunk,?
No  probs  i said
I  got  into  the back  of the car  and  we were soon on out way
They found a pizza place with live music.

It was great ,I ordered  a 16″ Pizza which was awesome washed down with 4 pints of various ales. we had a great time laughing and enjoying each other’s company..

eventually it was time to leave .once back we had a few more beers than it was time for bed

Start 413
Finish 428
mileage 15 miles
Remaining 1762 Miles

Day 34 Heading to Moreland Gap shelter- Passing mile 400

even though I was by the road I slept well but woke in the night saturated in sweat not good when your bag is down.
I tried my self down a d went back to sleep walk g at 6.30. I was in no hurry as breakfast wasn’t until 8 am.
But I needed the loo. So unzipped my went and groggy made my way to the porter potty as I walked. Zippy past me by all packed.
Fuck your all packed.
I did my chores then hurried back to my tent dropped my food at and began stuffing items into my bag.

I actually impressed myself ,as  i managed to be  packed in 25 minutes a record for me.
I swept my tent space  before slinging  my pack onto my back and walking  the short way back to the hostel.
My eyes were not REALLY awake but as  iapproached the hostel , I could see two people waving to me ,speaking to me……. Omg it was Dan and Beth.
I dropped my pack at the hostel and went and gave then  botha a huge hug, It was so nice to see them again. they had  stayed in the hostel in one of the nice beds,  picked up by friends at the trail head and had been for beer and food (Envy envy) . They arrived late last night .
I said I would catch uplater as there was coffee being served downstairs. I drained two large cups flowed by a few Danish.
Then breakfast was announced as .much as you can eat for $12
I am. not familiar with the foods and all of their names. But I left with a very large plate of food that i quickly devoured. washed down with lots of orange juice cranberry juice and more coffee.
I was then ready to head out.i filled up my water then flavoured it with lemonade. I just needed more gas. So had to wait for the store to open.
I went and said goodbyes to Dan & Beth. they were still waiting for laundry and so would be a while..

I hoisted my pack and set off , as i walked toward  the gate a pickup stopped an d offered me a ride back to the trail head oh yes please .
I hit the trail at 9am , I  wanted 17 miles  but allready it was hot and I knew thatthere were  several smallish climbs first  thing  and then it would be reasonably flat.
I started in the forest then exited into lush fields ,the trail wound its way across and up.
Once again  when you leave  town or  have resuppled you are heavy so my back ached as It grew accustomed to the new Load. The fields made a nice change ,as I wound my way across I came to a very well-kept cemetery. I stopped and looked at a few graves more out of curiosity before returning  to the trail.  Theforests are l changing , flowers are coming into bloom and the birds are  singing away.
I stopped and tried for 10 minutes to try and get a photo of this bird called a Cardinal.
It is the size of an English blackbirds but it is bright red. But he did not t want his photo taken.  The chipmunks also  seemed much tamer here , as i walked on a red squirrel shot  out in front of me making me jump.

northern-cardinal
northern-cardinal

But best of all the trail was nice, no big climbs, no big decents , just a gentle roller coaster trail , I loved it as  I was in no hurry I decided  to  get to the first shelter  then see how I feel.  I shortly vame  to a signpost  that  pointed to a waterfall , as i was in mo hurry  i thought that i would go take a look
Oh wow it was lovely, Well I loved it.
I stopped and stared at the gusiing watrer   for several  minutes  before  heading back to the main trail. Several miles  later i came to another watefall ,but not quite as grand but still good.
As I stopped to  get water ,  I accidentaly dropped  one of  my  bottle tops  that  was quickly  washed away. Dam that was careless I said to myself. Luckily I carry a spare. I walked on knowing that the next shelter was very near and I was in need of a break.

The shelter soon appeared and it was fairly new. No one was there so I ate lunch alone signed the shelter log and stuck a sticker on the graffiti board.
Okay  on to the next shelter, yes  I can do that.!

I set off the sun getting hotter and hotter, i should have  started earlier, but i was looking forward  to that famous breakfast. The trail continued as the morning , a lovely gentle trail  with no rocks .  I love  and so was able to push the miles. . Once  again the forests  were alive with bird song. Most of  the singing  was  from  tiny birds called warblers.
It  was roasting as i pushed  on so  soon neded to take 10 minutes  so at at 4 pm i found a spot  and  collapsed into  the warm grass to rest . I ate the rest of today’s snacks glugged my lemonade before  checking  my map. It  was  4 miles to go.I guessed i would be  there by 6.30. I packed up and set off again, As I had a few  hills to climb I  didn’t want to carry any extra water up them . Once  up  the second climb I  pushed on  my bladder was getting low but I didn’t want to stop.
My plan was to fill up every thing at the next  water before the shelter, as the shelter had poor water and it was far.  I crossed over a rushing creek , should I get water? but decided  to pushed on . I did this scenario at every  water source  I came to but still carried on .Then I  began to panick  that the last water may be crappy so I decided  i would fill up at the very  next water . As I was getting water a young hiker came by , she too stopped and watered up. (Speedy)
Okay I mile to go but I was now  hauling 4 liters which was heavy and of course UP-hill.

At last the shelter came into view. I quickly found a tent spot and put up my tent and got organized. I was just getting g my cooking gear when Bob arrived and OMG He had packed me out a beer. Good man, we toasted. each other than necked them .
I made tea then realised my Chilli Mac that I was excited to eat for supper was actually Mac cheese, bugger oh well my fault eyes test.
I cooked it up added bacon and pine nuts and it really was good but  i  had a lot  of it and was struggling to eat it.
As I’m eating Zippy arrives  shortly followed by Pig-Pen.
I offered  Pig-pen the rest of my dinner but  then realise i have bacon in it thinking that she  is a veggie
Sorry  I say  its got Bacon  in ,
No  its okay snail  i  eat bacon,
Then I add  ” Oh and its got  nuts in !
She imeaditly spits it out,
What sort  of nuts SNAIL !!
Pig-pen is allegric   , OMG i am so sorry  , Its pine nuts ,
Who puts fucking nuts  in Macky cheese  ,
Luckily  shes okay  and  we can laugh about  it, although i feel so bad and keep apologising  OOPS !!!!!!!

We carry on chatting but it is late so we hang our food then turn in. night all

Start 395
Finish 413
mileage 18 miles
Remaining 1777 Miles

Day 33 Heading to Mountain Harbour Hostel

Sunday may 13th

As I was close to town I could afford the luxury of a lie in. So enjoyed the time.
At 7.30 I unfit my zip and peered out .I half expected Bob to be gone. But no, he also slept in.
I retrieved my food bag and began to make tea. Then a few hikers began to appear god they must have gotten up really early. One of them,  Amy was in Bob’s posse she was on trail by six. You go girl.
I made tea the. ate a honey bun like a Danish but with 4 times the calories.  omg it was yummy.  I then slowly packed up. and I was soon. on the trail.
I only had about 7 miles to do. But standing before me was huge mountain. I stood and stared at if before beginning the climb. Luckily there was a nice cool breeze.
I chugged up it little by little. stopping at about a 1/4 to video and again at half way and at the top. I have to say that the views were amazing. But I am done with mountain’s. I would like to see something new!  But some how I do not think that I will.

Once over the trail snaked its way across some lush meadows before deciding to head down. Again it started nice but then turned to Ankle twisting rock. i battled through this for about an hour until the trail passed through some nice cool forest crossing several streams.
I was spiralling down whilst listening to the beautiful bird song. Most of the birds I have seen have been tiny finch like but the most amazing colours.
I continued my spiral decent for about another 2 hours until I began to hear traffic.I began to follow a stream. that kept getting bigger until I arrived at the road.
Okay snail left for Roan or right for Elm Park and beer.
I turned left and as I walked along the road i noticed a sign for the Harbour hostel.
Well that will do me. I. carried on walking and soon entered, It was really nice and very CLEAN
I Signed for tent spot $10 washing a dollar and all you can eat breakfast in the morning $12.
I dumped my clothes into the machine after soaking my socks for 40 mins yes they need it. Then to the shower OMG they were good .
Once we. it was lunch I had the AT burger a  12 0z burger and fries washed down. with cherry coke
Then after I dozed until I had room for ice cream I did a pint of strawberry cheesecake yummy with more soda no Beer here !!
After I went to put up my tent in by the river so may be condensation in the morning.
Once my tent was up I finished my chores ie laundry and resupply and ordered supper. Healthy chicken salad
now I’m now in my tent doing my journal night

Day 32 Heading to Little Hump mountain Mile 389

Saturday 12 May

I Dozed for a  while before getting  up.

Somersault had already left and left early. I went to the woods then retrieved my food bag. I removed my fly and then put water on to boil.
I began to pack up as the water came to the boil. I ate breckfast then finished packing. By the time I walked into the trail it was already in the 70s I think somersault had the right idea.
The trail began gentley but I knew that I had big climbs to do later and the sun was hot.
I pounded along  the  trail heading down , i seemed to be decending  for a long long time as i reached and crossed  over a  road , Bob caught me, Bob is fairly tall s and so can really stride  so skips up mountains the bastard.
This was the start of the the first climb,  again it started gently then  became steep  I climbed for over 2 hours beforeI reached thetop and had to take a break as I was shattered.  I pushed on  and down for  short  distance before my next 2 mile climb   oh joy . Luckily this climb was mainly  sheltered from the sun by  pine  trees , but OMG it was still steep

2 hrs later I emerged on top of a  grassy bank with nothing to see and then the trail  imeaditly  began to decend  and of course STEEPLY down.
The trail  bed became pebbles and busy with clean people and many dogs. I guessed it was a tourist spot but I hadn’t a clue what or where I was  until an hour later I emerged out onto  the Tennessee / North Carolina border.
There were cars every where. then I spied Bob sat by the forest sign  so joined him.
Whilst here i decided to take lunch, we tried to  yogi some free  stuff a apple a soda  but no one was being  generous

Shortly  Amy and Pig pen  arrived  from yesterday’s camp
After my break I hoisted my pack and set off with all the clean day tripers up the other side of the hill. once up the views were spectacular but the trails continuous climbs and decents  were exhausting me. I ploughed on for several hours  meeting a bunch of scouts out hiking,  they were very chatty so I tagged along with them for a few miles

My  original target was the second shelter  around mile 16  But when I got there I  felt that it was too early so decided to push on as I wanted more miles.
This may of been unwise as  the trail quickly began to climb and  very steeply . It continued climbing for several hours , I thought i  was done as i crosssed sevral meadows but then it  began to climb again , before crossing several  more hills. My map said two miles but I’m convinced it was more likely 4 .  I needed water  but the next water i came  too was crappy  , bugger  as i was relying on it . I then passed a camp   which i was to be my target, but i needed water .
I carried on up the trail  suddenly  i met Bob coming the other way . Hey  BOb
Snail there’s water  about .2 miles  im now heading back to the camp.
Cheers Bob , i will join you later when i have water.

I soon found  water an d was on my  way  back to  the campsite
I spied Bob putting up his tent and quickly followed suit.
As we  ate dinner,  a deer decided to join us , completely unfazed that we were here. After eating  I hung my food bag  then turned in

Start  369
Finish 387.8
mileage 19.8 miles
Remaining 1803 Miles

Day 28 Heading to Bald Mountain Shelter Mile 327

I was awoken by the red glow of someone getting up
“Shelter etiquette”  if it’s dark you put on your red light so you do not blind people, But  that  red glow was  still bright
I dozed until 5.30 then decided that I too would get up. I put on my shoes visited the loo, grabbed water then let down my food bag. I was pack and  on the trail by 6.45
It was chilly, but I would soon warm up as stomped off down the trail. I  had  dreaded my first climb , but to my amazement it was not that big and I was soon at  the top  and  in  a lush meadow. The  trail was level and a joy to walk  along   that  made me annoyed that I didn’t carry on last night.
AS  the  trail  was so “perfect  it wasnt  long until I arrived at the next shelter and was surprised  to see  that  Tentless was just leaving.
” If I had known that the trail was going to be this good I would have gone on last night  ” I said
I stopped to  grab water , before setting  off after him, but as he’s got long legs and fast I  doubt  if  I would catch him
As I  pounded down  the trail,  I caught sight of bears  backside  as he crashed down through the bushes. i  was pleased with my first  sighting  but  i want  to see  more.
I pushed on in until I needed to take a break I scoffed a packet of peanuts and some skittles.
Next I had a big climb,  which  would be  endless and steep. Thankfully most of it was in the shade, a little way up there was a beautiful waterfall so I paused for breath and a few photos before continuing on and up. eventually I  emerged out into a lovely meadow but still the trail  still continued to climb.
Why is the AT so so steep ?  i asked myself  and  the answer was because it  is
I climbed for most of the morning and into the afternoon until at last the trail began to spiral down through a cool forest. I pushed on until  i  arrived at a sign  pointing out the way to  the next shelter.
I decided  to  haed  to  the shelter  take  lunch  and  get  water  as i  ade my  way down the blue  blazed trail  i ran into Tentless  and Red stripe  who  once againwere just  leaving ,
“I  may  catch  you later and Stay safe”  I said and continued on  down the trail
I arrived at the shelter  at   2pm  , and  had  completed 16miles   which i was very pleased with.
At the shelter, was Tripod and 2 other hikers.
“Where is the water| I asked.
“Its miles away and shitty” was the reply.
But I needed water so set off with my bottle bladder and cup.  It was indeed  a long walk and no, it wasn’t good water but I needed it. 10 minutes later, I was on my way back.
I made a brew  and ate a late lunch. I was just packing up when it began to rain so quickly  packed up  my  things  and  put  my  pack  cover on and rain jacket then i was ready.
I hoisted my pack and set off, the next shelter was 10 miles away, could I do that ?
THe trail was soon climbing once more  and  so it wasn’t long before I was overheating so had to stop to remove my coat.
For the next 5 miles the trail was a gentle roller coaster then as I was  decending  once more I spied Tentless and his new companion. I waved and carried on. but as soon as I had passed them the trail became a  nightmare   it was muddy  and very slipperyinued up for the next 5 miles. and it was muddy and slippery.
I pushed on through but was beginning to tire. so  stopped to check my map, But  wished I hadn’t as the shelter was still miles away. I  put on my headphones, turned-up the volume and pushed on struggling  with this mud.
Another hiker appeared  “not far snail” he said as be passed by.
But it was!!,  If I had enough  water I would of stopped  but  i hadnt as i climbed up another hill . I emerged on a hilltop with amazing views all around.  wow  the views were stunning , but i was tired and  needed to  get  to  my  target  so reluvtanly  pushed om  and  back to more climbing.
I continued for another hour until  I saw a hiked on the opposite hill.
“Fuck Noway ” I said to myself.
I quickened my pace but I was knackered, as I charged across the meadow as the other Hiker disappeared from view.
“It’s just too far” I said to myself. taking a huge slurp of lemonade.
I pushed on  and  began to slowly crawl up the hill following the blazes across another meadow,then another before  at  last  i was begining to decend,
Arrhh   but the decent was   slippery mud , and  i  had to grasp hols of tree branches  to  stop  myself from falling   over. It was scary.
I was so so pleased , when  a sign  to the shelter appeared, and  made myway down  the  trail. There were  about a dozen people sat around the fire. and several  more in the shelter .
I said my hellos , then went to find a tent spot.
I quickly put up my tent before grabing  my food and stove  and walking back towards the shelter .I put  on a brew ,then  made supper. hung my food .made hot chocolate then went to bed

mileage today 27 miles whoop

Start 300
Finish 284.4
mileage 27 miles
Remaining 1906 Miles

Day 27 300 Miles!!Heading to Jerry Cabin Shelter

I slept well apart from getting up 3 times to take a wee.
I woke at 6am, went to use the privy then dropped the suspended bags on the way back.I left  Jess’ s and Dan’s bags by their tents then I put on my stove, then striped down my tent. I put my gear away and was ready to go.
I sat  and  enjoyed my tea  before clipping my mug back onto my pack , i then hoisted my pack then set off out of camp.
It was glorious morning although  rain was due later so I wanted to crush miles early.
I had my ear buds in hoping that  may help with my milage. I had a great start  then the climbs  began
I wanted to hike until 11.30 before taking a  break and I was on target. i leap-frogged several hikers for most of the day. until my watch imformed me that my  time was up.
I really  needed that break. I  took 15  minutes  before returning to the trail.
if was only moments before I reached the next shelter. I spoke to several other hikers. then i moved on

it was a 2 mile climb that was steep. so so steep I chugged up it took me 40 mins to reach the top ,and another 5 mins  for me to get my breath back.
I pushed on,  the trail  becoming very  rockcy , and  so I couldn’t get any pace and the rock was awful . But it what it is     and  so  i  just  hobbled on until i came toa signpost
there were several options , I decided to take the scenic route. It was so beautiful with amzing views but the slabs were  so hard on my feet  and it wasnt long until i  was getting  fed  up and just wanted to get  down and off of this rock . At last I began to desend   but  it wasnt easy  as i  had to shuffle a little  on my  bum    to  reach  the next  rock

As I dragged myself up the next hill, Jess appeared so we walked together to the next shelter and  there in front of the shelter   was  the  300 mile marker . Whoop
I was going on , but  yes  convinced me to stay  and so i wandere off to get  water.
once back at the shelter i puton a brew and  got  my  pad set  up in the shelter.
I decided to  sit in the sun  as it was so lovely but then the bugs began to drive me  mad   so  headed  back inside.
As  i sat  chatting to jess a stream of  hikers  began to pass by, some  got  water then went to find a tent spot  other  whhere attempting to get to the next shelter
I joined several other hikers  and  cooked my supper before  turning in.
It had been a good day  and  i  was pleased to have reached  the  300 mile marker

Start 284..4
Finish 300
mileage 15.6 miles
Remaining 1891 Miles

Day 26 Leaving hot springs heading to Spring Mountain Shelter

6th May 2018

After a very late night of karaoke I woke in the night and needed the loo so walked back over to the Hostel, not realising that there were  toilets in the chapel. O my way I met a skunk, who made me jump as he scuttled along in front of me
I eventually  woke at  7. but dozed till 8.30.
Okay I really need to ‘re organize my pack and so  I emptied the entire  contents  out all over the floor, stared at it for 5 minutes for  beginning to  sort through my gear  and  then replaced it back into my pack.
“You heading out Snail” asked a few of my buddies.
even though it was still raining i was keen  to  crunch  some miles .
“I am thinking about it” I replied, hoisting my pack and grabbing my trash and headed out of the chapel and back to the hostel. I was greeted by my fellow hikers who were Sat outside. Tarzan had a jar of pickled green beans
“Try one snail! he said offering me the jar
They were actually really good, so I had a few more.
I dumped my rubbish and refilled my water bladder then  I was ready.
I hoisted my pack and was just leaving when  several of my friends asked me  what I was shooting for.  (what mileage )
“First shelter 10 ish miles”  I replied.
I set off down the steep hill towards  town. It had rained earlier  so everything was still damp.
I made my way through town passing by a restaurant advertising great breakfasts. There were several hikers sat outside, and the waft of food was very  tempting but it was  11 am and I wanted  to  bank some miles. At the en d of town I crossed over the railway,  just past the tracks was were the music festival was held.
There were monstrous camper vans leaving so it was very busy. as  I followed the road that eventually  crossed over the river.  This  is  where I  rejoined the trail.
Once across the bridge  the trail  decent down to  the river, I followed the river for several miles before  turning sharply  left and  up. The trail imeaditalyy began to climb and  steeply , In places I had to pull my self up  but wow what amazing views of the town .
I continued on and up then the rain returned but only fine drizzle. although the wind was chilly. The rain then began to get heavier  and  then  there were rumbles of thunder. Maybe i am a bit reckless  but  several  hikers  decided to  turn around and  get  off of  the mountain as  they  were very afraid of the lightning .
I pushed on  and continued climbing  as the rain lashed  down, at  last  I  began to descend  but  due to  the rain  very slippery especially  the  steep parts

I pushed on and on crunching miles, at last the sun returned  and the temperatures quickly begun to rise  especially as I was now beginning to climb once again .
I was pushing but the time seemed to be slowing down or maybe  yesterdays  late night of karaoke was having its effect and so I decided to stop for lunch.
I enjoyed a few  snacks and my rest, before   returning back to the trail
I pushed on and  continued climbing , I spent the next few  hours  climbing .
At last I began to hear voices  and  then the shelter came into view . THere were about a dozen tents dotted around  the shelter, bear  lines and more tents  upon a small hill.

I walked up the hill and  scanned the area, found a spot   and  dumped  my  gear.
Where’s the water I asked
it’s a fair  way  so get plenty came  the replies ,
So  I took my bladder and bottles  and  yes it was a longish walk down hill.
Once back I  began to put up my tent ,I  put down the footprint, then emptied out my tent. Fuck bollocks I have no tent stakes. .
Dam I must have left them in the Chapel at Hot-Springs , although i went  through all of  kit guess

My tent is free-standing but I like to peg it out. I managed to beg 2 stakes off of other hikers  and pegged out the rest  with sticks and stones
I was just chilling  when Jess and Dan appeared,  and they set up their tents by mine
There was about 20  tents around us by the time  we cooked dinner . It was nice to  have their company  ,as we chatted  together until  it was time for bed.
But  first I needed to hang my food, As there were so many  people here the bear lines were packed and almost needed two people  to hoist  them up and down.
Once  that was done I got into my  tent and caught  up on my journal.

I lay on my pad and began writing then drank my beer that I carried out then it was bed  time.

Start 273.4
Finish 284.4
mileage 11 miles
Remaining 1906 Miles

Day 25 Nero to Hot Springs

For those that don’t know a  what a Nero. It  is low or little mileage.
I set the alarm for 6.30 as I was expecting a long road walk. When it went off I dozed for few minutes before springing into action . I retrieved my food bag from the tree assembled my stove and put on  a brew .
As the  water  heated, I began to dismantle my tent and pack up. when i was packed  i  slurped my tea  before clipping my mug  onto to my pack and walk g back towards the car park.
I  had just arrived when Big Red appeared.
‘Hey where were you ?’ I asked
We decided to walk down the  dirt track hoping that it would take us to Hot spring’s. Soon the dirt track turned into tarmac and we began to see houses and several dogs came out to check on us.
As we wandered along I noticed several men chatting.
‘Excuse me sir is this the way to hot springs? I  called
“Yes it is but it’s a shitty road to walk on,would you like a ride?”
“Yes please” we both replied.
We  walked over  to  his  home,
“Come  in i  have  just a few things  to  do first”  he  said
the House looked  fabulous  from the outside , but  inside  it was pilled  high  with  “STUFF”
He  made us coffee while  we  waited ,  then  we  were in  his pickup heading to town.
Imdeed  the road  was very twisty  and  no  hard sholder  and  so  yes  it  would  of been suidal  to  walk down this  road .
WE asked  if we could be  dropped at  the motel  , but when we arrived  it  lloked closed and deserted and  because there ws a huge music  festival on tha=is weeekend  every where appeared booked up.
He drove us around town looking for somewhere for us to stay, we stopped at the hostel  but  that was fully booked  too  so we had to put our names on a list  and  come back later .
Okay  boys  shalll i drop you somewhere for  breakfast ?
He droped  us off at the ‘dinner’  we promptly  dropped our  packs  outside on the porch and  went inside  where we could  see Tentless and Magic  sat  eating breakfast so we   joined them
I ordered the fried steak breakfast with hash browns eggs, biscuits and gravy . god it was so good.

Once fed I headed to the Post office to send some excess gear up the trail.
as i walkd  through town  it was good to see so many  familar faces , and  every  now and  then i had to stop to  chat, catch up on gossip and to   find  out where people are staying .
I arrived at the post office and  sorted through my  pack  and  boxed up my unwanted  gear, I  ws  just  finishing off when Jess appeared   so  i  had  to sort  for  more gossip lol.

Once  i had  finished i made myway  back  through town and standing outside the Liquer store  was  the  Tarzan, Whitety , Tank and  Her Dudness, hey  guys  i said  and  where are you staying ?

As  they had only  just  arrived  they  were not  sure .
I  needed somewhere to stya  so  set  off back  up  the stepp hill to the hostel.
When I arrived  i was informed that there may be a bunk but I will. need to wait, but I was allowed to take a shower and put my name on the list to do laundry.
The shower was amazing  oh so good, it was so lovely  to  be clean.
Jeff appeared (the owner) and said I could sleep in the chapel.
I quickly grabbed my pack and followed him. over  to where the chapel was, It was  roomy and had air-con.
I dumped my pack then set up my pad and sleeping bag.

Once settled I walked back over to the hostel and sat in the sun with over hikers.
Okay time to resupply I went to the “Outfitter” first as j wanted gas and a new dry bag. I brought some bits but was shocked when the bill came to $75, and I had not got a lot. in my basket . I  headed back  through town as i was still  short  of several bits  and  went  into  the other store , dam this shop was much cheaper so should have come here first oh well  live and  learn.
Lastly I need  beer so  visited the Liquor store to grab some beer. I stareing mindlessly at  the rows and bottles and  can . As  i didnt know what to choose .
FInally   a assistant came to my  aid  and  helped me  choose , I went  for a case (6)   and  a case of  xxxx Before starting the steep climb back to the Hostel.
Once back I dropped my stuff in the chapel and sorted through my food ditching the box’s and cartons before  rejoining  the group at the hostel.
i  found a comfy  chair    and  opened a beer  just as the heavens opened and it began to pour, and pour  i  felt  sorry  for all the campers who  were in the field , WE  continued sheltering under the porch enjoying each  others company and  drinking beer  untill the sun  returned

Cinco

https://www.history.com/topics/holidays/cinco-de-mayo

I learnt, Today  May the 5th ,  Is in Cinco de Mayo Day it a Mexican celebration that everybody enjoys so Jeff the owner begins to make margaritas and then food appears tacos chilli and salads and it’s all free fantastic and so tasty.
What a great evening. some of the guys organise table cup ping-pong ( can’t remember its correct name)
The night is finished off with Karaoke and I sing dreadfully
luckily  there is no  evidence !!

Night all

Start
Finish 273.4
mileage  miles
Remaining 1917 Miles