Day 83: In which the heat starts to be a real concern

Miles Hiked: 10.1
Miles Left: 1493.7
Ending Location: Pickle Branch Shelter, Mile 691.6

I woke up feeling much better but both Owl and I agreed to do another low milage day again today. One issue we’ve been running into is just as the heat has been increasing the water sources on the trail have been getting farther and farther apart. We’re at the point where we have to carry four liters starting out and we’re still dehydrated at the end of the day. That’s nine pounds of water right there. Hiking in this weather reminds me of the tyranny of the rocket equation as the more water we carry the more water we need.

The trail ran past a memorial to Audie Murphy who was the most decorated soldier of World War 2. He died nearby in these mountains in a plane crash. We took the opportunity to take off our boots and rest our feet on the benches around it, something I hope an infantry man like him would appreciate.

The shelter at the end of the day was quite a ways off trail. There was excellent camping nearby though and we had tons of sunlight left after pitching our tents so we had time to joke around. Wiki had recently shipped home his bear canister, he had been the only hiker carrying such a monstrosity, so we were all giving him advice and encouragement as he was attempting to hang his bear bag. This was despite the fact that none of us have ever successfully hung a bear bag that would actually protect our food from a real life bear. Heck I’ve started sleeping with my food bag outside my tent! Still it was tons of fun for everyone. When Wiki finally hung it at what was agreed a good location I then played the part of the bear climbing the tree and batting the bag around. It doesn’t take much to amuse us! We’ve also hit the part of the year where the bugs are out in full force. You have to be careful not to leave your tent open as if you do you’ll find it filled with a full ecosystem of creepy crawly critters. At one point I found a spider in my tent and my first thought was that I hoped it would eat some of the gnats that had somehow managed to sneak in. Despite all if that the night passed uneventfully with no bear or insect related incidents.

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