Miles Hiked: 17.5
Miles Left: 1386.0
Ending Location: Mile 798.3, Camping by the stream
Today started with the standard town question, “How do we get back to the trail?!” Some of the other hikers mentioned there was a list of trail angels in the pizza shack so we could grab an early lunch and then call somebody on that list for a ride. Owl and I opted to try our hands, (or thumbs), at hitchhiking though since if we sat down for lunch we might never escape Glasgow. Hiking is all about momentum. It’s always easier to stay where you are and even when you are moving there are a million sources of friction. I think 90% of the challenge of the AT is just getting that starting momentum going.
Our initial attempts at catching a ride from town were laughably unsuccessful. Luckily, following the advice of one of the locals we walked to the highway and someone pulled over not long afterwards. We talked with him for a bit on the way to the trailhead and the comment that stood out in my mind the most was he mentioned, “You know you boys smell something awful, right?!” We said we did, but for those reading at home, this was after we had showered and done laundry. I think it’ll be a bit before I can reintegrate with polite society when I finish the trail….
Any thoughts of jumping off the footbridge were promptly dashed when glancing at the river. It was brown with mud and debris. It certainly had no problems with momentum! Anyone jumping in that would not make it to shore. So Owl and I instead started our hike for the day. The same god that makes it rain after you wash your car must also take delight in making the trail a muddy mess the day after you get your non-waterproof hiking shoes. As we gained elevation the trail dried out though and it turned into a fairly decent day.
We stopped by Punchbowl shelter briefly to check in. Supposedly the shelter is haunted but the only weirdness was a birdnest in the rafters filled with chicks. The downside was that the shelter itself was covered in bird poop but that’s nature. There was a group of adults taking at risk youth into the woods who were camping there too. The chaperones looked like they really needed a drink but the kids were having a blast. After leaving the shelter the following trail was supposed to be flat and scenic but in what I’ve come to expect from the trail maintainers they rerouted it over another mountain with no view. At this point it had gotten dark and Owl and I were hiking by headlamp. We hadn’t been planning on night hiking but the campsite we were expecting was nowhere to be found and in fact there were “No Camping” signs everywhere. Eventually we hit a river crossing but the water had risen high enough that there was no dry path across it. Not wanting to chance it, we instead set up our tents right by the river and called it a night.