Photo, what photo!

Day 88

Stealth Site to Campbell Shelter 16.7 miles AT mile 715.2

Card of the day – knight of pentacles

As promised the boys got up and left at 3ish, but the noise outside was so loud I dident get much sleep any way.  There was some animals making a racket!

I got out by 7.10, which was either good for me or a sign I got no sleep!

The day started with switch backs but we were treated to a river of cloud in the valley, which was worth the view.

The joys of the ridge line.  It’s almost worth the boulders and climbs.

And then we hit the 700 miles mark.  It’s odd but the more of these that come, the less exciting they are.  Hay, what’s another hundred after all this time.  (Have I got the Virginia Blues)

It was hard hiking over the boulders on the ridge but beautiful.  Your pace sure slowed down though.

The next stop was Dragons Tooth.  I got there early ish and the weather was kinda there kinda clear.  I tried my very best to climb to the top but chickened out half way when there was an over hang to get over.  After all, I’m alone up there and still too young to die! (And a broken leg in the USA would cost an arm and a leg)

Still I got my photos and was a happy chappie.  Coming down off dragons tooth however was another story.  It was steep, slippery and there were the first rebar ladders that I had seen.

It was a relief to be back in the woods.

I caught the guys at 11 by a water source which was nice and we headed out into pastures and the smell of cows.

Next thing I hear is “Hay your cool breeze!”

“Err yeh?”  Turns out it was someone that reads the blog so I stopped and chatted for a while.  We talked about the lack of the Kilt and I asked why he read the blog.  I always wonder why people read my ramblings.

The guys had carried on through the pasture and up the hills up the ridge.  I caught them and they took the mick abit in a nice way.  Them not knowing that sometimes people recognise me from the blog.

At the top we had a pack off break and discussed if we should take the up coming Blue blaze trail or not.  It leads up the old fire road and was actually the old AT.  It also cut off a mile or two and was along a better gradient.  I said I was going to take the white blaze and set off as I did not want to be far behind them by the end of the day.

I spent the next 30 mins or so wondering if that was the right outcome.

Turns out that when I got to the intersection there was a Trail maintainer there who directed me along the fire road any way.  They were taking down some trees and he strongly suggested I take the other route.

That was fine as I spent the next half hour hearing the chain saw’s!  So they were clearly up to something, and after the storm I just figure they have trail to clear.

The fire road bypassed two shelters and a water source which was an issue as I needed water, but looking at the topo map on far out it seemed I should still hit the spring.  When I did it was barely flowing.

The promised rain finally hit and I opted to head back down the AT to a shelter.  I came across the trail maintainers and they said I could hit the shelter but not the privy.  Once there there were a few other thru hikers also avoiding the storm, they had just carried on walking past the first guy.  I wondered if I had just not been forceful enough with him or if they had just carried on regardless.  I’m still not sure how I should have behaved, but I guess I’m still at the “do as your told” phase.

After 45 mins I headed out.  Hiking is such hard work in the humidity, and even after the rain the hiking was hard work.

Next stop McAfee Knob!  The most iconic picture on the AT.  Well I get all the way to the top and there is no one up there, having just been a thunder storm and all.  No photo for me.

I make my way down and to the shelter for the night.  There is a father and son and another section hiker there and Flash and Wolverine come in some time later.  I eat dinner at the shelter chatting to the guys there and by 7 hit the sack as there was rain due, which came.

The rain fell, the wind blew, and I contemplated why I was out there.

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Comments 2

  • Leah Love : Jun 9th

    I day hiked McAfee’s last November for the first time and had the same experience. Completely alone at the top! No iconic picture, but the solitude up there was a nice trade off. 🥾🏞️

    • Craigen “Cool Breeze” Smith : Jun 11th

      Yes it was!


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