Day 2: One Squall, Two Squall, Three Squall, Four

I heard people packing up their things around 6am, but I lingered on my sleeping pad for about 30 minutes before getting started with my morning. I had slept pretty well but in fragments, waking to a numb hand or sore shoulder and needing to reposition before promptly falling back asleep. I felt well rested, but like I had to learn how to position myself on my sleeping pad to not go numb after a while.

Once I got up, I started making my breakfast of hot cereal. I realized I didn’t know if my fuel would last the next four or five days until my next resupply, so I decided to start rationing. Instead of having a separate cup of coffee, I poured my instant coffee directly into the hot cereal. I mixed in some dried bananas and chocolate hazelnut almond butter. It worked even though I would have liked to have a separate cup of coffee for the ritual aspect.

Phil found me and updated me on his water filter situation. He would get off trail in a couple days to pick it up from an Amazon locker. I asked if he needed me to filter him any water in the meantime, but he declined. I repeated my offer to give him some Aquatabs so he could treat his water while hiking to the road crossing where he would connect to town. He accepted and I was glad to be able to help. It was good that he wouldn’t be heading out without a way to treat his water, even though he would be sure to encounter hikers with filters who could lend him a hand if needed.

The shelter began to clear out as the morning went on until only myself and one other hiker remained. He introduced himself as Lion Tamer. He started hiking the same day I did, also intending to do a flip flop thru hike. He hadn’t picked up a hang tag from the ATC though. I told him I understood not wanting to put too much pressure on the endeavor, but that he was a thru hiker to me. I found out Lion Tamer was from Georgia after he made a comment about it being cold out. It was cloudy and in the upper 40s, perfect hiking weather to me! I told him I intended to hike in shorts. He was surprised.

Before heading out, I went down to the spring near our shelter to get water. The AT is rich with water sources along most of its length. Since the seasonal spring near the shelter had good flow, it was a short walk to the water source.

I signed the shelter log book, wished Lion Tamer farewell, and headed on my way. I may have been wearing shorts, but my hands were cold so I put on some gloves. With that adjustment, I was perfectly comfortable.

Soon after setting foot on the trail, I noticed some flowers and wondered what they were. I remembered I downloaded an app from iNaturalist called Seek that would identify specimens using the phone camera. I decided to give it a go and the app informed me that they were Pinxter flowers.

I began stopping about every two seconds to ID more of my surroundings. American Beech, Northern Red Oak, Chestnut Oak, and Witch Hazel Cone Gall Aphid were among my observations. I was having a lot of fun getting a deeper appreciation for the forest around me.

Further up the trail, I was surprised to come to a museum and historical site, complete with restrooms. I took the opportunity to use a toilet and explored a little bit of the area.

Given the slow pace of my progress up the trail, it’s probably for the best that I had decided to eat snacks throughout the day rather than having a proper lunch. Still, I was coming to a shelter around noon and there seemed to be storm clouds rolling in. I decided to eat one of my lunch snacks at the shelter and hopefully ride out the incoming squall.

The shelter was more humble than the one I had slept in. I felt lucky that I managed to stay in such a nice one my first night on trail. Once I sat in the shelter and started eating my snack, the sun came out. Classic.

I ate quickly and got up to head back to the trail. As I was following the blue blaze out of the shelter, I noticed an interesting plant and of course had to ID it: mayapple.

My afternoon went pretty much the same as the morning: a slow meander up the trail with a lot of stopping to identify things around me. Eventually a drizzle started and I took out my umbrella. It didn’t last long and I put the umbrella back. But after some time, another squall came through. This process repeated a few times throughout the afternoon, but the rain was so minimal that my shoes didn’t even get wet. No big deal.

I arrived at my destination for the night, Rocky Run shelter, at 3:30 pm. I was joined by many of the same folks from the previous day: the reunion crew, Phil, and Lion Tamer were all there. We debriefed about our days. I was happy to report that only my feet hurt. Phil encouraged me to roll my feet and I assured him I would. We talked about the rain. I mentioned that I thought to myself “oh, just one squall” after the first shower, then when the next rolled in, I said “ok two squalls” and so on until after about four squalls I decided to concede that it was a bit of a rainy afternoon. 3 socks joked that it was like the Count, and said in her best Count impression, “One squall! Two squalls! Three squalls!” We laughed.

Lion Tamer wanted to know if I managed ok wearing shorts. I assured him I was totally comfortable. After getting to camp, I made sure to put on some layers because I knew I’d be cold sitting around in the 40 degree weather. I have a puffy jacket that has kept me super cozy around camp, and my rain pants have worked fine to keep my legs warm. The evening should dip into the upper 30s, which is perfect for sleeping if you ask me!

I rolled my feet and performed my stretching routine and felt relief from my foot soreness. Wearing my camp shoes helped too. The rest of the evening was pretty quiet, and some folks were asleep before 6pm. I did some writing on my phone and went to sleep around 9pm.

AT miles today: 9.1

Elevation gain: 1400′

Total AT miles: 16.1

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Comments 3

  • Al Galletly : May 10th

    Enjoying your posts. Looking forward to more as your journey progresses. Sending wishes for fine weather and a continued safe and fun-filled hike.

    • Hillary Rodgers : May 11th

      Thanks, Al!

    • Luci : May 19th

      love the updates from Phil haha

      wait so what is your trail name?


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