We had a good day, hiking slow, saw some deer, and stopped for a dip in the Pigeon River in the afternoon.
Chiclet, so much more extroverted than Spoon and I, talked and joked with the guys while Spoon and I were in the zone.
We had some trail magic-- oranges -- which I put on my pack until tomorrow. We camped at a nice campsite on a hill and were soon joined by Cozy. Windy nite with a symphony of barn owls and coyotes.
April 24: For all my supposing about Chiclet the extrovert, needing more conversation than I do, Chiclet decided to get up early and do a solo hike today before the rest of us. The sun is definitely rising earlier; I was up at 6:15. It was a warmer morning and Spoon and I were on the trail by 7:30.
It was a glorious day for hiking. Smooth terrain with a few steep grades thrown in there for good measure. We walked across a beautiful grassy bald that made me want to run through, singing "The hills are alive, with the sound of music!"
We saw a lot of older, retired people on the trail, which was truly an inspiration. We caught up with Chiclet on Max Patch Summit, which was really beautiful, but also very windy with some threatening looking clouds, so we quickly went down the other side. Once again, we hit some trail magic-- Dr. Pepper and peanut butter bars. ( I know I'm only around 10% done with this, but I can't wait to do trail magic for other thru-hikers!)
The guys caught up with us at Roaring Fork Shelter where we were having lunch. We walked the remaining 4.9 miles to Walnut Mountain Shelter quickly, but still got caught on a passing rain storm. The shelter was pretty dilapidated with much to be desired, but at least it was dry. We sheltered it to keep out of the rain and get an early start on the morning.
April 25: We got up early and hit the trail at 6:15 to get to Hot Springs as early as possible. It was a cold, foggy morning so I ended up hiking in my thermal PJ's and rain gear rather than change. We are getting pretty fast-- we hiked 13.2 miles by 11:00 am and had a fantastic lunch at a pub in town.
Since Coon and Slick live close by, we accepted their southern hospitality and went to Slick's house. But first, we stopped at an elementary school where Slick's friend worked and spoke to some 5th graders about hiking. It was pretty fun!
We had a great lasagna dinner and then went to a minor league baseball game: the Asheville Tourists versus the Lexington Gentlemen. Our team won and it was a great time!