An eventful first day back!

Day 73

Marion to Davis Hollow 13.1 miles – AT mile 547.7
Card of the day – 10 of Swords (drawn at lunch time)

Following a slow day in town yesterday I got up and somehow packed my bags, got breakfast to go and was ready for my shuttle back at 9.30.  It’s been a fun few days off but the trail is not going to walk its self.

Unfortunately my knee is still playing up.  So it’s on with the support that the Doctor gave me a trail days.  Other than that and the loss of my trail legs the break did me a world of good.

For once I’m not packing out a 6 pack, time for a little detox!  To be fair I’ve over resupplied so my pack is still heavy!

Another amazing shuttle from Carrie the trail angel.  I had to practically force some cash into her hands.  She has shuttled over 400 hikers so far this season for little or no money.  Her commitment to the community is outstanding.  (Maybe the trek should set up an awards and recognition event?)

Plodding up hills has became hard, but thankfully there are not too many to contend with today!  It’s remarkable how much you loose by not moving at the same rate.

Spring seems to have moved on and instead we’re hiking through Jurassic park.  Maybe it’s just the section I’m on but it feels like there are less flowers about and most the rhododendrons bloom is past its prime.  There was also a big burnt out area to be fair, which looked fresh and as part of a control burn as it never crossed the path and only seems to burn specific areas in a structured way.

I stopped to take ibuprofen at 11! Not good!  I mean it’s what the doctor told me to do, so I suppose it’s not bad either.  I just don’t want to be someone that takes 2 with each meal, and you hear a lot of that, especially with older hikers, which I suppose I am?

A frog made me jump, he was just sat there on the trail and jumped off as I approached, was thinking how I’ve not had any animal encounters, and then a 6ft Rat Snake was in the way for 15 mins.  He was sat on a branch over the trail at about chest hight.  I screamed out when I saw him and jumped back then called Underhill to ask him what to do.  He laughed as said it won’t kill me and just walk past it.  I asked him to move and taped his bum, and about 15 mins later he departed and I carried on.

At lunch I realised I forgot to pack out any tuna – that was stupid.  Tuna or chicken pouches make up most hikers lunch in some form of wrap.  Not having lunch is a problem, so looking at resupply options I decided to book a bunk at The Quarter Way Inn for tomorrow, so I can resupply there.  For the next 200 miles or so we are spoilt by hostels and town!  I need to avoid the expensive habit of stopping in one too often.  Watch this space I suppose, especially with the rain in the forecast.

I fell whilst collecting water from the stream and I’ve put a hole in my filter bag, so that will need replacing at the next opportunity.  Today is not going my way!  First day back blues or what?

We passed under some power lines and the hum and crackle was so loud!  Are we really supposed to walk under that?  Apparently so.

Trail magic was provided at an old school house in a museum about early settlers buildings and farms.  There were also flushing toilets so I donated $5.  I got electrolytes, some Gatorade and a protein bar so that seemed to be fair.

Next it was across a trail line (the train has kept me awake all night!) to duck boards over a marsh.  It’s always nice when we have different surfaces to walk on and I can’t imagine how dirty they got installing them.

Then it was a little road walk past a couple of petrol stations and through some scrub land where I encountered my first ticks.  These are by far the most dangerous of all the animals I might encounter on the trail.  I’ve treated my clothes with permethrin, but have new socks and shoes since then so on my next zero I need to redo all that and might pick up some insect repellent to put on my legs.

There was also a white blaze painted on the grass to show the way.  I must admit I had to get the far out app map up to navigate this section, which is not something I have to do often, but then painting blazes on trees is not easy in built up areas.

In a meadow I just stopped and looked.  Some times you need to turn around and admire the view, and it was rather beautiful.

I set up camp and lost another bear line!  This time the line on the floor had tangled and knotted in the tree.

Thankfully two other hikers came by and gave me one of theirs!  I’ll buy them beer in town.

All in all it was an eventful first day back on the trail!  Night night.

Thank you Psyche’s mom for the kind trail magic, I’ll be sure to spend it on something useful, like a 6 pack to pack out!

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