Flashback – AT99 – April 5


Well, lame.  The combination of daylight savings time and Sheltowee being an insensitive jerk kept him, Hosehead and Little Engine up and giggling until 10pm or so last night.   At 9:30 I grabbed my stuff and went off behind the shelter & flopped down.  Now the sleeping bag is soaked with dew.   It’s amazing how the creepy older guys fawn over and flirt with the younger buxom hiker chicks.   They kept tittering away, like a slumber party.   In fact, that’s exactly what Marco Polo called it.   At like 10:15 he got up and asked them to be quiet.   This was AFTER I got up, put on my headlamp and rummaged around for ear plugs.  And in spite of Crispina’s subtle rapping on the shelter floor (boom boom boom).

We’ll see what happens tonight, I hope I can dry my bag out somewhere.  14.7 with one steep climb, but that’s after lunch.  I might kick it and move on even farther, to avoid sheltering with this posse again.

Dinner –

19.3 miles, a record!!!   Actually, counting the .7 I had to go off trail for water, a full 20.0.  Who puts a shelter close to the trail, but far from water?  I got to the Hogback Ridge shelter, but knew there was a cafe at the road crossing up ahead, and the pack behind me, so I pushed on.   Got an INSTANT hitch to Little Creek, where i had an excellent doublecheeseburger, fries, and 2 sweet teas.   Finishing up, I walked out, and got an instant hitch from a construction worker working on the Interstate.   So southern I barely could understand him, had never heard of the AT.  But what a cool life, 19 years old, living on the road.

Hiked and hiked, and came down to a meadow, where I saw a tent, so I started my trademark whistling – sure enough, “Hey Downhill!”.   Marco Polo and Crispina are here.   Very windy, I’ll have to really stake the tent out.  Once the sun dropped the cold came up, but I was so hot and wired and wet that I walked around without the shirt on – “I didn’t know they bred polar bears in Rhode Island” he said.   No wonder he said he gets claustrophobic in their tent, it’s smaller than mine, and they share it!   La Hacienda Downhill is big and heavy, but VERY comfortable.

Came up over a bald this morning in the fog.   Right as the sun broke through, all these orioles started singing, it was amazing.

Today was hot, with a 1 mile, 1000′ climb.   Knee started hurting at the top, but is OK now, especially after my 2 hour burger and fries break.  If my heels and knee were better, the miles would come easier.   I’m leaving the bandages on until Erwin, gonna push so I get in just after lunch that day I figure, so I have all afternoon to just hang out and rest.

Note: In 1999, I-26 did not pass through the valley, it was Flag Pond Rd.