Getting comfortable on the Pinhoti Trail

Week 2 on the Pinhoti Trail

Week 2: 85.51 miles hiked

Total miles hiked: 161 miles

Day 8: 14.8 miles

This morning I woke up at the Next Step Hostel once again. It was so nice to get out of the rain yesterday and be able to start my day dry and warm. The other hikers and I all got up and packed our things. Then Nancy from the hostel drove us all back to the trailhead. I was getting back on at Adams Gap which was a handful of miles ahead of everyone else. But I knew that they would all catch up soon enough. I’ve been enjoying taking my time and easing back in to thru hiking.

The morning started with a fair bit of climbing through a stretch of trail known as Stairway to Heaven. It was rocky and steep but manageable. The trail entered into Cheaha State Park which had incredible views.

At the top of the climb I took a nice long break and talked to some guys who were doing an overnight trip. And right as I was about to pack up another hiker rounded the corner. It was Monk! A hiker I met on day 2 at the Pinhoti Outdoor Center. Him and I had talked for a really long time at the POC. We talked about life, freedom, minimalism, and spirituality. He had spent time working and living in monasteries baking bread. He’s yo-yo-ing the Pinhoti Trail. Seeing him again was such a treat.

Monk and I spent the rest of the day walking together and enjoying each other’s company. Then we camped together that night. I did a 14.8 mile day.

Day 9: 15.8 miles

The next morning Monk and I both got going at the same time and we hiked together all day again. He’s the first person that I’ve actually hiked with continuously. I really enjoyed it. We did a 15.8 mile day and made camp nice and early.

Over those two days Monk and I talked about everything that you could imagine. Nothing is off limits on the trail. You can share parts of yourself with people that you rarely would in “real life”. There is something so freeing about that.

I also passed the 100 mile mark on trail today! My first milestone on my Bama to Baxter hike.

Day 10: 7 miles

The following day Monk and I only intended to do 7 miles which was nice. We were up and walking by 4:45am to get a ride from a trail angel at 7:30am. It was fun hiking in the dark and watching the sun come up. We paced together and got to the trailhead to Heflin early. And there we listened to music and talked some more. Then a trail angel Tammy brought us into Heflin, AL.

Once in town we dropped off our things and ate some food. I got some things at the grocery store and made some phone calls. Then Tammy drove us over to the local motel where I was staying. I let Monk shower and charge his stuff. Then we got lunch before he continued along the trail. I on the other hand was going to spend the night in town.

Monk set out and I knew that it would probably be the last time we saw each other. But that’s ok! That’s the trail for you.

I did chores in town and ran into two other hikers, 2 Pac and Lark who I met at Next Step. And later on in the evening Mule and 5 Pounds got into town and we got dinner together.

Day 11: zero miles

Today I took an impromptu zero day. I spent it journaling and hanging out with other hikers Mule, 5 Pounds, Jinx, and Nails. It was a great and relaxing day. Though oddly enough I felt more sore in town than I have on trail! Rest can do that to you.

All of us hikers wound up getting dinner together later on in the evening. We even made plans to all head back to trail together the next day. It looks like I may have found myself a Pinhoti Trail family! And I couldn’t be happier about it. They’re all really nice it’s been a blast spending time together.

Day 12: 18.91 miles

This morning all of us hikers were up early and enjoyed a McDonald’s breakfast. Then Tammy came to get us and take us back to trail around 7am. The trail was fairy cruisy and moderate over the course of the day so we made good time. We all took lots of breaks and hung out.

By noon we had gone 13 miles which felt amazing. We decided to push a bigger day  because of an incoming rain storm. There was a shelter nearly 19 miles in to the day that we had our sights on. And by 3pm we all arrived at the shelter. Nice and early with plenty of time to eat and relax.

It was a really great day and my biggest mile day so far!

Day 13: 11.8 miles

This morning I got an early start. It’s always easier waking up in a shelter in my opinion.
About 2 miles into the morning the trail went by an old church from the 1800s. It’s one of 6 historic churches left in Alabama. You could even go inside and look around.

We all cruised along, leapfrogging one another on the trail all morning. Our plan was to hitch into Piedmont to avoid afternoon rain and fortunately we didn’t have far to go. I even managed to get service part way through the day to schedule a shuttle ride for everyone.

By 11am we had all made it nearly 12 miles to the trailhead. And like clockwork it began to rain right as we got to the road. There was an old burnt shelter that we were able to hide under until our ride came.

Then we got a ride into Piedmont where we ate, resupplied, and stayed in an airbnb. We had been told that the local motel had bedbugs.

Later on in the evening we all went out for dinner and even played local trivia at the bar. Team Hiker Trash came in second place! It was such an amazing night.

Day 14: 17.2 miles

This morning we slept in at our airbnb before heading out. A local store owner Brittany drove Mule, 5 Pounds, Jinx, and I back to trail. Nails was staying behind to meet up with a friend.

The trail started with a climb up Duggar Mountain which was fairly easy. And the rest of the day there were a couple more moderate climbs.

I was feeling particularly sore today but fortunately had no pain. We originally intended to do 15 miles but decided to push a couple extra to set ourselves up for the days to come. By the time that we got to camp I was exhausted. The terrain wasn’t that tough but my body was sore. We camped by a rail trail and had an early night. I was hopeful to feel better in the morning.

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Comments 1

  • Jack Layfield : Mar 18th

    Is this the same Monk that hiked the AT in 2019? If it is, tell him “hello” from Chappy Jack.


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