Birthday on Trail!
The mice made quick work of our TP peace offering then did what all mice do…caused chaos. We mostly heard them scurrying about in the rafters all night. Backtrack said he woke to one chewing on his hair and Eric noticed mice poop on his calf sleeve that had been laying next to him.
When we woke we still had coals from the fire last night so were able to quickly make a morning fire. This made getting up at 5:30AM more bearable. After drinking coffee, eating breakfast and packing up we set off under headlamp a little before 7AM. Twilight started around 7:30AM and we enjoyed seeing the peachy sky through the trees. We walked through several pastures in the early morning light and made friends with some cows.
There have been warning from the ATC about aggressive bears in the area. Camping restrictions are in place. We’re opting to do a slightly bigger day than usual to avoid camping in these areas. This means we are staying at another hostel tonight!
The terrain was very cruiseable and we made good time. Today is Eric’s birthday. He appreciated receiving cards from his Dad and brother while in Damascus. He also enjoyed pushing over 23 miles on his birthday.
Hayley’s present was to carry out a beer from Damascus. That’s one pound (or pint) of love right there!
The trail traverses a long tree clad ridgeline along the shores of Watauga Lake. Views were limited so we kept moving. In 2011 Eric had his most successful yogi. This is when a thru-hiker gets food offered to them without asking (referenced from yogi bear, the cartoon character). Eric sat near but not too near a family grilling burgers. He slowly drank the last few drops of water and scrapped the sides of his empty peanut butter jar. Shortly after a member of the group invited him over to enjoy some burgers, salads, soda, and chips. Eric’s mission was accomplished! Unfortunately, due to increased bear activity in this area over the years, there is no picnicking, lingering, or overnight camping in this area now. Also, no opportunity to yogi.
Luckily at this point, we were less than a mile from the Boots Off hostel. We enjoyed a peaceful night and even Backtrack arrived. The hostel crew offered us leftovers from their Halloween party. We ate well and really enjoyed another amazing hostel experience.
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