Day 47: Chaco Scars and Aqua Blazing

Rough Morning 

I did a lot of moaning and groaning as I forced myself up. All was quiet until Fine Young Buck began to rapidly move and pack. That woke up Kea underneath me and he seemed to have darted out of the cabin. I grumbled and reached for my phone. It was 6:20. We were taking the shuttle at 8:00. I had no idea why everyone was in a rush.

The moment I stepped foot on the floor (as I was on the top bunk), Fine Young Buck turned on the light. I was blinded. It took a moment for me to see.

I packed up quick and went to wait in the ‘bear den’. I dinked around on my phone as the others came in. One of the workers who was going to drive us was wandering around and we headed towards him asking if he was ready. He was. We all piled into the car and began driving towards Hampton.

Back to Town

We stopped at McDonald’s for breakfast before heading to the Boots Off Hostel to aqua blaze. They told us to be there before 9:00, so we were. The property was really nice and thought out. I wish we were able to stay there, but I wasn’t going to pay money to tent camp. I can do that for free elsewhere. 

Boots Off Hostel 

We told Lucky Moon that we were there and she told us to sit tight. I sat down and finished my McDonald’s. After a bit, I wandered into the store to look for stickers. And to see what they had. I got one and Lucky Moon asked who the instigator was. “Me,” I respond. She handed me the liability waiver and told me to fill it out and make sure the others read it and signed. So I did. Once that was finished, I handed it back to her.

One of the male workers came in and said that from 10:00 to 10:30, we’d get the briefing and would be out on the lake by 11:00. I asked why we had to be there before 9:00 if we wouldn’t be out until much later. Most are tardy so they say get there early.

We hung around. I snooped through the hiker box and found some good food. Someone dumped their trash in the food box so I bitched about it as I threw it away. I ate some of the breakfast provided for hikers because the two meals from McDonald’s was not enough. 

Chaco Scars

At one point, Fine Young Buck asked how my feet were. “They were pretty banged up last I saw.” It took me a moment before I recalled what he was talking about. I think it was almost two weeks ago that I rubbed the tops of my feet so badly that they bled. I stated “I feel like Chacos should pay me because not only do I have awesome Chaco tan lines, I went above and beyond and I now have Chaco scars.” I showed my feet. You could clearly see where the straps would go. Fine Young Buck gave me a fist bump and I laughed. 

Aqua Blazing

As 10:00 rolled around, I became antsy. Then 10:15. Then 10:30. It wasn’t until after 11:00 that they finally said they were ready. Time management is clearly not a strong suit. We gathered around a picnic table and got the speal. I took a picture of the map and we headed into the van. The drive was short and we got a lesson on how to kayak. It was nothing new to Sweeper, Kea, and I as we all kayak in our free time. Kayaking was new to Fine Young Buck, though. He usually canoes.

At 12:00, we were finally in the water. I paddled hard. I needed to get away from land and all the frustrations that come with it. The others followed. It was a great day. It was sunny and the breeze wasn’t too bad. We paddled to a very small waterfall and ate lunch on an island. We passed under a bridge and soon were in a more developed part of the lake. Most of the time, I was alone and I just took in the views.

By 3:30, we arrived in Bulter at the boat ramp. I had texted the owner saying that we were under the bridge and he told me to go to the restaurant and eat. He’d be there at 5:00. In Butler, I texted him that we made it and he said, once again, to go to the nearby restaurant. It may just be me, or that I’m in a certain mental state right now, but being told to eat somewhere when I know that he is buddies with the owners does not make me inclined to do so.

Dinner Time

The tramily and I walk up to the restaurant/convenience store. I only had plans to pee. I finished doing so and saw Kea at a table, ready to order a drink. Guess we’re eating here. I got a dressed up baked potato. I was still hungry. I’m wondering if my true hiker hunger has kicked in.

By the time we finished up and paid, the shuttle was there with our bags. We got in. The drive was kind of long, but we made it to the trailhead by 5:30. We didn’t start hiking til 5:45.

On the Trail Again

We started off in a beautiful cow pasture. We passed a barn that I have seen pictures of and had to take one of my own. The hike was gradual and we were soon at the shelter by 7:00. I dropped my pack down and immediately got water. I had maybe a few sips of water before hiking. I had none now.

After that was complete. I put my stuff down in the shelter. One guy made a big fuss about only having five in the shelter instead of the stated six person capacity. He said someone could sleep on the ground if they wanted too. I was going to fight back on that, but he then decided to leave.

I began looking for a good tree for a bear hang. All the guys who I don’t hike with were saying, “Don’t worry about it. The bears won’t get it. Just sleep with it.” Why today of all days do I hear stupid stuff? I hung up my food.

I then washed off my feet and changed into my camp clothes. Today was a long day. I crawled into my sleeping bag and did blog things. Two of the other shelter stayers had their white lights on and kept flashing bright beams of light. One kept saying ‘sorry’ but didn’t change what they were doing. I was ready for bed. I can only tolerate so much stupid.

Affiliate Disclosure

This website contains affiliate links, which means The Trek may receive a percentage of any product or service you purchase using the links in the articles or advertisements. The buyer pays the same price as they would otherwise, and your purchase helps to support The Trek's ongoing goal to serve you quality backpacking advice and information. Thanks for your support!

To learn more, please visit the About This Site page.

Comments 8

  • Amy L Conroy : May 16th

    Sorry ,but your complaints about Chacos don’t say much except maybe you should have put your hikers on? Some socks and save yourself some grief?

    • Morgan Schmidt : May 16th

      Thank you for informing me about the new definition of ‘complaint’! I didn’t realized it changed.

  • Holly : May 16th

    Thought I’d mention that you can get Pigeon forge stickers online, Amazon, Etsy, other places. Getting out in the water sounds great!

    • Morgan Schmidt : May 16th

      I didn’t even think about Amazon or Etsy. Fine Young Buck told me about this website called Red Bubble (I believe?). Anywho, I’ve got a list going of all the places that I couldn’t find stickers. It will be fun placing that order, for sure. And the water was great! If only it was 80 out and jumping in was a smart idea.

  • Yam : May 16th

    Sorry for all the rather jerky types you ran into. Sounds like many had an agenda for you that was not yours. Great posting tho. Always enjoy your postings

    • Morgan Schmidt : May 16th

      I appreciate it. Most people are great, but there are some that need to rethink how they approach things.

  • Just Steve (Hey Google) : May 16th

    I feel like I need to make you a Captain Blogger sticker 😃

    • Morgan Schmidt : May 16th

      Oh my god. That would be epic!


What Do You Think?