Onward to Cable Gap Shelter

17 May 2017

Mileage

AT – 158.9 miles
Day – 11.5 miles
Time –  8.66 hrs
Speed – 1.32 mph

Today   off so much better than the previous day.  I felt good.  But from the numbers above it looks like I’ve fallen off a cliff.  1.32mph is the slowest to date.  I did take a few more breaks during the day…do hopefully that’s the case.  I took an hour lunch and a few 30 minute breaks during the day. 

In the past, I was not really taking any longer duration breaks and lunch was usually very quick.  So my hike time was on par for my speed.  With the now self induced breaks, I feel better and more rested throughout the day…not as fatigued.  So…even though it appears I’m slow hiking, I’m not just lolly gagging.

This morning’s sunrise from my topless tent was…breathtaking!  I’m so glad I did without the rain fly.  In fact, I woke up several times and just stared at the stars.  It was a moon less night, so you could see do many of the stars through the treetops canopy openings.

MO had a visitor during the night and woke me up as he shooed the varmint away.  We had both seen it when I arrived in camp.  I’m not sure what it was…kinda like a big beaver with a bushy tail.

Then after that commotion, I started to hear other noises.  It sounded like…it could have been a bear!  However, I didn’t want to turn on my headlight in case he was close.  And going topless didn’t help my fears.  That thin material of a rain fly…seems to give me a sense of security.  I know I know, wouldn’t it be better to see out?  For me, the answer is NO!  If I can’t see it….it can’t see me.  Think paying peek-a-boo with a baby.  If they cover their eyes, you are hidden.  The same thought process was mine regarding a potential bear outside my tent.

As I said, I felt better coming out of Locust Cove Gap.  The legs, feet and back weren’t killing me like they had in the past.  Just a few aches today.  However, even though I thought I was hauling on the trail, the numbers don’t lie.  BUT..I was enjoying the trail so much more.

I met Fish & Razor (Brian & Dennis) along the trail.  They are a son and dad team who do section hikes every year.  I’d met them a few days back and wondered how they could be so far in front of me.   As Section hikers, they had  jumped from NOC to Stecoah Gap since they’d previously hiked that section last year.

Photo of Fish& Razor

We passed each other several times for the next 3 miles into camp.  When I quickly got my bear bag line up over the branch, they were hoping they could add their bags to my line.  Sure…why not as long as the branch holds.  Also, I’ve done a lot of this bear bag line sharing in the past with Maggie, Karl and Keith. 

Believe me, I love the memories of hanging bears bags with Karl&Keith…it always brings a smile to my face.  Like the time with GMa Willow and at Mountain Crossing.  I’ve learned from these funny times, get that line in the tree during daylight.  LOL

At camp, I ran into a previous 2013 thru hiker. Puffy was traveling with a friend in preparation for a 2018 AT Thru Hike.  He’s a great guy with some expert advice and words of encouragement.  Thanks Puffy for the great insights into the AT Thru Hike.  His photos from his thru hike are on his Instagram:  @GarrettTHudsonian 

Photo of Puffy

Water refill…slow flowing source this time. 

Tomorrow, I make it to Fontana Dam.  It’s a short day of hiking, then resupply and plan for the GSMNP section.  I have 8 days to go 72 miles.  That sounds easy, BUT you have to stay at shelters.  That’s 5-7 days of food if I hike straight thru….meaning extra weight.  So I need a plan!

Initial plans are:
Day 1 – Mollies Ridge Shelter, 11.4 miles
Day 2 – Derrick Known Shelter, 12 miles
Day 3 – Mt Collins Shelter, 13.5 miles
Day 4 – Hike to Newfound Gap, shuttle and hotel in Gatlinburg as well as resupply, 4.3 miles
Day 5 – Shuttle back to trail and hike to Pecks Corner Shelter, 10.3 miles
Day 6 – Cosby Knob Shelter, 12.5 miles
Day 7 – Davenport Gap catch shuttle for resupply, 8 miles

This is cutting it close to the 8 day limit, so I’ll review other plans tomorrow. 

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