Day 22 – Painter Branch to Random Campsite on the trail

21.3 miles, 57,280 steps, 620 stories climbed

273.5 miles, 766,454 steps, 7447 stories climbed
Trail Magic Moments: 13
Another long day. I wasn’t quite expecting it to be that long but we’ll get to that in a little bit.
  
Another day of great weather. I was up early and hiking as the sun rose.  It was nice being able to pack everything without having to worry about waking people up.
As soon as I got packed I was on the move.  Walking over the streams and through the valleys until I came across wide open fields and a beautiful section of the trail called Max Patch.  It’s just a large grassy hilltop but it has a 360° view of the surrounding mountains.  I took a few moments to enjoy the views and of course take a few panoramic pictures before hiking on.

 

  

  It was a very strange day in that I woke up alone and I did not see any thru-hikers for almost the whole day. I saw a few day hikers. One group was a dad, a little girl and a young border collie that I started petting before the owner jokingly warned me that it would bite my head off (it was busy sniffing my crotch when he said that). Then I came across another father with two little girls, one probably around 7, the other about 4.  The little one was holding a baby hiking stick and looked at me and smiled and just said “Hiking!” a couple of times.
I pushed on until I came across one of the most wonderful sights for a thru-hiker, truly a sight for sore legs and empty stomachs…it was Fresh Grounds!!!  Well his setup at least.
  
He had headed into town to get more food and had left a fellow thru-hiker (and the only one I saw all day) in charge until he returned.
Clifford, the thru-hiker running Fresh’s setup, got his name after Clifford the Dog since he’s a red head.  
I sat for a while and stuffed my face.  4 hot dogs, a bowl of bean and sausage soup, a half pound of fries and 2 cups of kool-aid later it was time to hike on.
My goal for the day was a campground just about a mile and a half past the next shelter which would have put me at about 19.3 miles for the day.  I never seemed to come across it.  I found a few good spots to camp but none where by a water source and I was too low to make it till morning so I kept walking on until I came across a stream where I could fill up.  Then I walked until I found a good place to set my tent.  So, I’m guessing a bit on today’s distance, it’s somewhere between 21 and 21.6 miles.  It will also be another tent of just me and my kindle alone in the woods, but no streams today to lull me to sleep.
Tomorrow should be a relatively short day (just under 10 miles) to get into Hot Springs, get some packages and hot food and sleep in a bed. I’ve put a lot of miles on this feet in the past 3 days.
   

 

5 thoughts on “Day 22 – Painter Branch to Random Campsite on the trail

  1. Let me get this straight: you actually were able to MOVE after four hot dogs, a bowl of bean and sausage soup, and a half pound of fries? THAT is trail magic!

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