Day 66 – Bryant Ridge Shelter Vortex
Special guest for todays Blog: Rabbit
Rabbit tell us about your day?
“We woke up late-ish after a sweaty night in the Cove Mountain Shelter. Rabbit was pretty depressed about the state of his shoes, and he was thirsty. Admittedly, his rabbit shoes are good for about 500 miles, but they apparently spontaneously combust at 750. Rabbit should’ve known better.”
We ended the night with 25 hikers staring into the forest. The trees reflected back their pale green silhouettes. Our eyes were transfixed on the fireflies, outnumbering us 100 to 1, blinking back at random. Time slows down. Blink. Blink. Blink blink. They’re so fast. How long have I been staring at them? What is time? Let’s Tarantino this back to the beginning.
The day started at Cove Mountain Shelter around 8:00 a.m. The light was streaming in the shelter and would not relent against my unconscious mind. I awoke begrudgingly but once awake found myself stretching willingly into a more wakeful state. Our morning routine for getting ready is basically on autopilot at this point and just runs in the background as we discuss other day’s happenings.
Despite the routine, we did not start hiking until nearly 10:00 a.m. But that’s ok, I was fully caffeinated on another Monster energy (not sponsored, but fully willing to be) and ready to attack the day. We flew across the first three miles. no water, no problem. I tagged my trail name under a bridge with charcoal at our first water stop. Uphill, downhill, no big deal. What else you got? Four more miles. Rocks, rocks, rocks. Who’s next? Bryant Ridge Shelter, that’s who.
We arrived at Bryant Ridge shelter around 1:00 p.m. We had discussed the weather potential for the next three days and came up with a plan for where to hostel on a potential rainy zero day. Rain was not in the forecast until after 6:00 p.m. but Rabbit and Sip were against going forward with looming rain on the horizon.
Thus began our vortex. We stopped at this shelter with two other hikers. Over the next seven hours it would accumulate another 23 hikers at the point of last recollection. A group of that size would normally swarm a shelter, but this was not just any shelter. It’s the largest on the AT and it seemed to very neatly disperse hikers in a way that did not make it feel cramped. The group shared every useable space of real estate on the sprawling porch and two stories of the shelter. It was a wonderful communion of friends and strangers alike. Drinks, snacks and laughs were exchanged, and times were had.
Rabbit reluctantly decided to handover the responsibilities of meteorologist to me. “I Witch Doctor, do solemnly swear to uphold the duties and responsibilities as chief meteorologist for the tramily. I promise that I will use the latest up-to-date meteorologic techniques and proprietary Doppler radar readings to make accurate and safe assessments of the weather forecast each day. This responsibility will fall solely on the CEO, Witch Doctor, of “I’m Right, You’re Wrong Meteorology Forecasting LLC”.
The rain fell pretty consistently from 7:00 p.m. until nearly midnight. Wet hikers continued to filter in as the evening wore on.
We ended the night with 25 hikers staring into the forest. The trees reflected back their pale green silhouettes. Our eyes were transfixed on the fireflies, outnumbering us 100 to 1, blinking back at random. Time slows down. Blink. Blink. Blink blink. They’re so fast. How long have I been staring at them? What is time?
Stow away in my pack for day 67 on the Appalachian Trail.
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