Have You Seen a White Blaze Recently?
Last night I went to bed way earlier than usual. Since my body isn’t quite used to getting 12 hours of sleep at night, I just lay awake in my quilt waiting for a glimpse of daylight for the last hour or so. The sky was so clear and the sunrise was beautiful as I made my way through the woods for my morning bathroom outing.
As I packed up camp, I fired up my stove and made some oatmeal while making small talk with some of the hikers tenting nearby. Around 9:30, I finally had a full pack and a full stomach meaning it was time to hit the trail again. I made my way down a short section of the trail that led to the Springer Mountain parking lot, the official start of the trail. I got talking to the trail ambassador who was stationed there for the day. As we were talking, Karson, one of the guys who camp near me at Springer, strolled up and joined the conversation. Bianca and Tom, two other hikers who had just been dropped off, also walked up. We finished our conversation and all started up the trail at the same time.
The four of us ended up sticking together all day. At the beginning of the day, we decided to throw in an extra mile or so, most definitely unintentionally. We would be walking and realize we hadn’t seen a white blaze in a while. Guthook would proceed to tell us that we were indeed off the trail. We did this a solid 3 or so times. Finally, we got our stride…on the right trail of course…and started making good time.
Lunchtime put us right at Long Creek Falls. With it only being .1 miles off the trail, it is definitely worth the stop and is a beautiful picture spot, a relaxing place to eat lunch, and an easy place to fill up on water. With only a little over 2.5 miles to go to the next shelter, we headed off. We had a decent push of elevation but we took it at a good pace and it felt good.
We made it into camp at about 2:30. Bianca’s friend, Friday, was with a group of girls that were hanging out at the shelter. It was quite the exciting reunion. We all kinda hung out and shot the breeze for about an hour before deciding to set up camp. Tonight I felt a little more social, so I sat out by the shelter talking all evening. The broccoli rice I ate for dinner hit differently. The first part of the rice was nice and warm. The second part I ate after a 20-minute phone call with Mom and a chat with a couple of other hikers, Tom (a different Tom) and Bruce, who I had met the night before at Springer Mountain Shelter. It had chilled down a bit but was still pretty smack.
It was fun seeing some of the hikers that stayed at Springer come strolling in. Some new faces that started today came rolling in this evening too. We even had a guy, we call Muffin Man, start a fire and get all his stuff out. He had a 6lb bag of flour and cheese wheel and stuff to make homemade bread and pancakes and stuff. The diversity of people and stories out here continues to blow my mind and it’s only the second day. Getting to bed an hour later than last night but hoping to get some good sleep tonight. I know we have a good bit of elevation coming ahead of us tomorrow.
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