Day 30: Max Patch and Roaring Forks Trail Magic

Late Night Scare

I slept very well last night. My sleeping bag kept me warm in thirty degree weather. I dreamt – although, it was about soft beds and hot showers. I did wake up at around 11:30 that night, though, to hear what I thought was sniffing from a bear around my tent. I yelled out ‘hey’ in my half delirious state and struggled to un-cocoon myself from my bag. I ripped out my earbuds and stilled, listening. Somebody was digging in their pack loudly. I scared the shit out of myself for nothing.

Oatmeal Gag-Fest

When the sun was too bright to ignore, I got up. Leaving camp took a long time. I kept forgetting things and honestly felt like a newbie. I wasn’t the only one feeling it. Too long in town will do that to you.

Breakfast was, of course, oatmeal. Although, the moment I laid eyes on it, I gagged. Blaze was watching the entire time, laughing. I ate it, but I could not look at it for fear of gagging.

The Morning Hike

The hike started off much better than yesterday. I was in a better mood and my muscles were still warmed up/stretched out from yesterday. I wasn’t in any pain. The majority of the day was uphill. Most of it was gradual and I spent a long time in the snow line. The trail was completely clear, but everything else was still blanketed in white. With the warmer temperatures, the snow and ice on the branches of the tall trees were falling, so I’d occasionally be pelted by glops of heavy snow. It was cold, but also sunny.

When I got to the first road crossing of the day, I passed the tramily I stayed with in Gatlinburg. The trail went straight up. Nothing is consistent on the Appalachian Trail. I stopped multiple times to catch my breath or skip pass the annoying ads for certain podcasts.

Water sources were scarce. I had a few sips left before I could see the top of Max Patch. I passed a stream before the final climb up, but didn’t stop. I had enough to get me to the top.

Max Patch and Downhill

The hike up was easy. The stair section was muddy, but what part of the trail wasn’t? The higher I climbed, the windier it got. I got to the top and wasn’t overly impressed. The views were nice, but I’d seen better. I ate lunch up there though.

I had only two more miles for the day. On FarOut, someone commented that trail magic was being performed at the Roaring Fork Shelter. I debated continuing on to the next shelter, making it a thirteen mile day, but I was content with a short eight mile day. I was in no rush to push to Hot Springs.

On the way down, I hit a super muddy downhill and ended up falling down. My first true fall on this trail. Luckily, I fell in the snow, not the mud. Roaring Fork Shelter wasn’t far from there.

Trail Magic at Roaring Fork

Upon arrival, I noticed the table was covered in snacks and fruit. I was told to take whatever I wanted. I wanted all of it, but had no need for any of it. I was carrying too much food anyways. I shouldn’t have gotten the candy. I just don’t eat it. I sat down and DunkAroo told me he was staying for the night. The rest of the tramily, once they arrived, decided to stay too. There was free food and the next shelter was confirmed to have norovirus all over it. It was the obvious decision.

I found a mostly flat site, but needed to dry out my tent. My breath crystalized the inside of my tent last night – probably because I was too tired to open my air vents. I hung it up. It didn’t take long and I was soon setting it up. Next, I needed to dry out my quilt. It was nice arriving to camp early to do all these chores. I spent the majority of the time socializing.

I heard loud snoring and poked my head in to see Fine Young Buck passed out for a nap. I found the situation hilarious, so I took a picture.

I fixed food, got water, and was given some fuel by the trail angels. They thought of everything. They were even handing out toilet paper. By 6:00, I had already changed into my camp clothes and washed up via wet wipes. I didn’t have to carry any of that trash because the trail angels were insistent they take our trash.

End of Day

At dinner, the tramily brought up how they could see the fire in my eyes from when the people were burning their trash from the pervious night. They were waiting for me to, essentially, lose my shit. I did say that what they were doing wasn’t LNT friendly. I was ignored though.

Despite the sun still beaming and melting the snow around us, it was getting cold. I curled up in my sleeping bag and decided to plan for the day tomorrow and to read. Since I didn’t exert a ton of energy, I wasn’t as sleepy as I would usually be. I still forced myself to bed early. It wasn’t that hard actually.

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