Miles Hiked; 12.9
Miles Left: 1955.2
Ending Location: Cosby Knob Shelter
It was a surprisingly warm morning, made warmer by the fact that the Coke engineers had risen early and built a fire again to take the bite out of the air. Let me tell you, Coke should sponsor their trip and plaster Power-aid logos all over their clothes!
The day started out icy but soon turned to mud and slush as things warmed up. Owl and I spent half the day cursing how much it hurt to step on rocks in our micro spikes until we wised up and took them off since there wasn’t enough ice to make it worth it. The way the trail changes from section to section, one side being covered in snow and the other dry, still hasn’t stopped amazing me.
At one point in the trail we ran across an old plane crash. It’s nothing recent; It looks like it’s from the Vietnam war era, and there’s not much left, but it was still interesting to check out. I really need to look up the history of that once I get internet access.
Less than a mile from the shelter Owl’s foot started to feel weird and I’m very proud to report we stopped then and there to check it out vs forging on the rest if the way. Don’t worry, the pressure from wearing micro spikes had irritated part of his foot but now that he’s not wearing them everything went back to normal.
Other then that, the hike was fairly uneventful. The shelter was much livelier. A father and his son were there, both wearing kilts and enjoying the hike. They offered us sausages which led to all sorts of inappropriate jokes. Side note, they also had Haggis, but neither one was Scottish. Go figure. The dad was an orthopedic surgeon so we asked him what was the best way for people like us to avoid meeting people like him in a more professional setting. He replied “Probably not through hiking”, but then added the people who really run into problems are the ones that don’t get off the couch.
The big news was that there were notices posted around the shelter warning us that bears had been recently raiding it and had stolen packs that had been hanging on the hooks by where campers sleep. I can think of few things more terrifying than a bear busting in there and doing that. For our own safety we were advised to hang our bags on the bear cables outside. I assume the reasoning being that the bears would leave us alone then vs that they would simply eat one of us campers instead now that our bags were inaccessible…
Almost all of us decided to follow that advice and bundled up our bags as best as possible against the elements and then hung them outside. Around 4am it started to rain real hard so there was a huge bustle as everyone tried to get dressed and outside as fast as possible to take down our packs and bring them under cover. At that point bears were a more abstract fear than having to hike the next couple of days with a soggy bag.