300 Consecutive Days of Thru Hiking
ECT Day 300:
Day 300: 35 miles
This morning I woke up around 5am to it lightly sprinkling rain on my tent. I stayed awake and paid attention to see if it kept up. If possible I was hoping to pack up camp before it really began to rain. Luckily it never did though! Around 6:30am I finally got up and situated. The skies were blue and it was looking like a beautiful day.
The sun was just coming up and it felt like a great day. The sky looked pretty good and I had trouble believing that it was going to rain all day. Today is my #300th day on the Eastern Continental Trail. For the last 300 consecutive days I have been thru hiking this year. I remember when I used to have numbers like that collectively for multiple thru hikes. Earlier this year I had counted 365 combined days spent thru hiking, ever! That was between the PCT 2017, the PCT 2022, and the Bama to Baxter hike. Now I’m at 300 days just for this year alone.
I set out and got moving. There was an incredible sunrise in the works. It looked like some kind of illusion due to the moisture in the air or something. The clouds opened up in a perfect circle with the sunrise shining just through it. If anyone knows what that event is called or if it has a name let me know. It was absolutely incredible.
Honestly the first thing that came to my mind was “I’m not surprised that early man believe in a higher power”. When I see something like that it’s hard not to believe in something greater than yourself.
I spent a long time this morning thinking about my incident yesterday. I’m a big believer that everything happens for a reason. While I was not raised under any particular religion I would consider myself to be a very spiritual person. I believe in something more powerful than myself, but I just prefer to call it “the universe”. That’s just what works for me. But whatever you prefer to call it or believe, I still felt like something was watching over me yesterday.
When you believe in something like that you have to believe that everything happens for a reason. Not just the good things. Thinking back to yesterday I realized even that situation falls into the same reasoning. There’s a reason that that happened to me.
I also started thinking about these 300 days I’ve spent on trail. And the millions of things that could’ve gone wrong along the way but didn’t. I met a lot of people this year who had to go home for mental reasons, physical, or family. There is an endless list of things that could interfere with a long hike like this. I feel like something or someone has been looking out for me along the ECT.
After setting out I continued along for a while. Sometime around 9am I saw my 2nd northbound hiker! It was a guy and we talked briefly. He told me that Beer Run was about an hour ahead and another guy was a couple hours ahead. I wondered if this other mystery guy was the one I’ve been warned about. One man told me that a hike ahead of me was screaming at him and swearing. He said the guy seemed dangerous and like he was on drugs.
Then last night Mighty wanted me of a hiker ahead of me. She said when she came across him he was talking to himself. Apparently he was loudly screaming swearing but stopped as she walked by. That just scares me. Especially hiking alone through the woods. I was hoping that my path wouldn’t cross with this mystery mans.
I walked until sometime around 11:30-12pm. Then I stopped off at a covered picnic table that I walked by. It was too nice of a spot to resist! I ate some chorizo, cheese, and crackers. I sat on the ground and did my stretching for a while. I wound up hanging out there for way longer than expected. But it was a nice break.
Leaving there I continued along. I wound up walking for hours, basically all the way to Basinger. This section of the trail used to be a long pavement road walk. Apparently they just made a new trail to get the route off the road. It was just blazed and rerouted. But no one had come out yet to cut an opening in the barbed wire fence for the trail. So I just followed the old route. It went along a paved roads for about 8 miles.
It was hot out which was pretty brutal. But honestly it felt nice to be walking on dry ground. I needed a break after yesterday’s swamp trauma. Walking the road sounded great in comparison to that. A couple trucks pulled over to ask if I was ok while I walked. I always appreciate elope looking out for me! But I didn’t need a damn thing.
Sometime around 4pm the road walk brought me to the Basinger Community Center. I stopped off there to fill up my water. I wasn’t sure if there was going to be a spigot at the store down the street. Then I began the mile and a half walk down the street to the Cracker Trail Country Store.
I got there and began grazing to find something to eat and drink. I got a couple drinks and some chicken tenders. The guy who ran the place chatted me up. He couldn’t believe that I wasn’t packing a gun or a dog! But I’ve been doing just fine without both. I sat inside and ate my food. Then went out front to pack up and do my stretching.
There was a kitty cat outside that I snuggled with a bit. Some people outside chatted me up. Then I continued along just after 5pm. I knew it would be getting dark soon. The first few miles ahead were all along the road. I wanted to get that done as soon as possible before it got dark.
When I left the store it was just starting to get cold. I walked for a couple miles and then went passed a church. Originally I was hopeful that I might be able to camp at the church. But they more recently put a fence up so you can’t access the church anymore. After road walking for another few more miles I got off the road and into the woods at a trail head. The timing was perfect because I was ready to be done.
I walked about a mile in and found a place in the woods just off the trail perfect for my tent. I got set up and then did some writing. After laying for an hour or so I was surprised to hear the sound of men in the distance. It was clearly two men walking and talking. At the general store the workers told me that Beer Run and the other hiker were up ahead of me. So I was assuming these two guys were strangers.
I stayed quiet and hoped that they wouldn’t see my tent just off the trail. But to my surprise I heard someone say, “Peggy?”. It was Beer Run! He was walking with another hiker Cottonmouth. I didn’t know if Cottonmouth was the screaming and swearing mystery man I’d heard about. Or possibly just another hiker.
Apparently they had left the general store and accidentally went the wrong way! That’s how they wound up behind me. They had to do some bonus miles to get back to here. Those poor dudes! Going the wrong way is the absolute worst.
They continued along the trail after that. Maybe I’ll see those guys at some point tomorrow. I laid up in my tent for a while after that. I managed to do a bunch of blogging and get a post uploaded. Lately my blogs have been so long! There has been a whole lot to write about. After doing that for a while I eventually called it a night.
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