Epic Trail Magic and Fog
8.6 miles on day 2, 9.5 miles on day 3.
A lot of light rain on and off, day and night, keeping things damp but not too bad. Still in a daze processing this new kind of life and freedom.
We’ve been filtering all our water from streams using a Sawyer Squeeze. It removes 99.999something99% of bad junk from water. Guaranteed up to a million gallons. I didn’t see the joke there till I started using it. By the time you’ve sawyer-squeezed a million gallons of water through this thing the sun will have burnt out and the remaining gallons frozen over. It takes about 10 minutes to squeeze a liter. Kyle pointed out though that it does make us slow things down. There’s no rush at this point as we work our joints and feet into trail mode. Hiking too much too fast will only get us injured. So take it easy! Squeeze a few liters. Take that Sawyer Moment (TM)(1).
At our second camp a grayish-white branch caught my eye. Kyle had been enjoying hiking with a pole, and I felt my knee could use some extra downhill support, so I thought it might make a good walking stick. Kyle used his knife to baton the end off and then I whittled it smooth. Turns out it’s a perfect walking stick. Unbreakable, not too heavy, a curve for suspension, and a tip just narrow enough to grip and never break. We saw lots of mist on day 3, and it felt right, so I named my new walking staff Fog.
Half way through day 3 when we stopped at Woody Gap a kind old man gave us tangerines and snickers. His trail name was Rescue and he was waiting for his wife Junebug (note: people hiking long distances on the AT pick up trail names. Kyle and I don’t have ours yet) who was section hiking. Then we saw another hiker leaving a tent with a ham-egg-n-cheese sandwich. Naturally, we investigated. More than breakfast sandwiches there were grilled hot dogs, homemade brownies, hot coffee, tea, packaged pastries, and bananas. More than I would ever ask for. A man named Ticktock had set it up—and was turning out the eggs and ham from his Coleman stove—who had done some thru-hiking in the past. His brother was also a hiker passing through, a veteran hiker who shared some of his trail wisdom with the young hikers who partook. It’s not just the food but the generosity itself that’s so refreshing.
After that we powered up a steep slope, feeling good.
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