3.8 miles, 10,825 steps, 68 stories climbed
118.6 miles, 342,354 steps, 3097 stories climbed
Trail Magic: 7
So after the long, rainy hike yesterday it was time to set up camp but since it was still pouring and the grounds were not level and horribly muddy, I was left with little choice but to stay in the shelter.
I have tried to avoid the shelters after the first night because having a number of people sleeping very close to one another (picture 5 people sleeping in a king size bed) does not usually bode well for a good nights sleep. Last night was no different.
Between the snoring and the tossing and turning of people trying to sleep on noisy inflated nylon or foil emergency blankets, sleep was something very hard to come by and, once achieved, even harder to sustain.
The city called though and there was a short hike ahead of me. I woke up well before the sun, packed as quickly and quietly as possible and started hiking in the dark with nothing but my headlight shining the path.
It was pretty easy and peaceful for the first mile but once I came across a road in the middle of the trail, the lack of sunlight made it difficult to find the trail. The guidebook said I should be going uphill so I turned uphill and started walking up the road hoping to see one of those wonderful white blazes that mark the trail and fortunately enough, after a few minutes I was thankfully able to find my way again.
I hiked up the stairs and the rocks and crossed a few streams as the sun finally started to signal the start of the day. In the distance, beyond the trees, the mountains began to slowly show their brilliance as the peaks struggled to maintain themselves above the thick fog. A beautiful morning hike.
As I came down the road to my destination for the day, where soon a shuttle would come to take me into town, I came across a note written by a generous trail angel. The note read:
“Hi AT Hikers!
Welcome to Franklin. I just moved to the area and would just love to host some of you this month.
About Me: Hiked AT in 2006 & my boyfriend & I hiked the PCT last year. We’ve always wanted to give back to other hikers since we’ve gotten so much over the years.
We live 4 miles outside of Franklin (other side of town) in a tiny cabin (400sq ft) with our 2 big dogs. We have a double foldout bed that 1 or 2 of you could sleep on. We’ve got a washer/dryer/hot shower/kitchen that you can use too. We usually go to bed 10pm and get up 6am. I can pick you up at the trail or town and drop off too. We occasionally have wifi but the library is probably a better bet for that. Can’t wait to meet some of you.”
The bottom line had her name and cellphone number as well. Being that I have Sprint, I of course was unable to make a phone call to see if I could partake in some of this trails magic but it was still an amazing and generous offer. I look forward to one day being able to give back to the hiker community in any way that I can.
Once I got into town and got my room it was time to take a nice long shower followed by some laundry. I know this isn’t exciting but showering and clean clothes make me extremely happy these days.
When the chores were done it was time to go out on the town, visit the local outfitter and fill my belly.
Outdoor 76 is the name of the outfitter in town and they were really knowledgeable. We spoke about different techniques with trekking poles and ways of hiking downhill to reduce knee pain. Suggestions of zigzagging and sidestepping as well as lengthening my poles on sustained downhills all to reduce force. I bought a new water filter (a Sawyer Mini) to replace my Steripen, thanked them and was off to find food. (There was no problem with the Steripen it’s just the Sawyer is cheaper, faster, lighter and easier to use)
Not far from the outfitter was an old fashioned diner called Motor Co. Grill, where I immediately ordered a peanut butter milkshake and then had a burger with some buffalo sauce.
After the belly was nice and fat it was off to get the usual supply of snacks (jerky and snickers) and then forward a care package from my parents to the next town. (I ended up getting to Franklin a day early but hiker tip of the day, as long as you don’t accept a usps package you can have them forward it to any town free of charge)
The rest of the day was spent relaxing, charging batteries, answering some emails and calling Maria and my parents. It seems I have failed again at convincing Maria to come join me. But damn it I will keep trying.
Tomorrow, it is back to the trail. I have a few mountains to climb.