Foothills Trail Day 6
Nantahala National Forest
Toxaway Game Land
Gorges State Park, NC
Jocassee Gorge Wildlife Management Area
MM 56.85 Virginia Hawkins Campsite
When I woke up the other hiker was already gone. Ate some bars while packing up for breakfast and continued on. I soon found that it was to warm to wear my raincoat. Cloudy skies but the weather did feel nice. The trail started off as an old forest road and it stayed like that most of the day. It was also the rugged part of the trail so far with an excessive amount of ups and downs. Cannot remember the last time I had a switchback for quite awhile.
As I entered Gorges State Park I ran into a barred owl on the side of the road. Spooked him into a very close tree. I went for my camera and he flew further away, but close enough I could get a video. It was a cool experience and he did not seem to mind me being there at a distance.
Saw quite a few section hikers. A large group of five from out of state. The one in front who I chatted with was from England. They gave me a rundown of the trail coming up including something called Heartbreak Ridge. I let them know about what they had coming up next. An older couple who have hiked the trail before. A family of four with a dog who wasn’t that chatty. And a couple section hikers I ran into at camp. We talked most of the night while they maintained an amazing fire. It was nice to talk around a campfire.
There were two parts of this section of trail that were interesting and fun. First, would be the number of suspension bridges I came across. While Birdy would probably jump on them, I briskly walked across. The longer one across Toxaway River did bounce towards the end just walking through it. Second, is a place called Heartbreak Ridge, now I see what the English guy was saying. There were hundreds of steps to this climb. If I thought my steps previous days was excessive, this blew it out the water. I stopped counting at 300 when, after my huffing and puffing, I just plain forgot what number I was on.
Definitely a tough/rugged day but I got to see an owl and converse over a campfire tonight. Tomorrow we are expecting rain all day. Pushed a few more miles knowing about this. I will get to Sassafras Mountain by afternoon and start another Passage of the Palmetto Trail.
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