It has been another full week of hiking on the AT. My days become a long series of forgotten thoughts as my feet take me mile upon mile north towards Maine. I start my day anywhere from 5:30-6:00 am. I start somedays wishing I could sleep in. Then I think about the miles for the day and I reach over my head and release the valve to my air mattress and begin packing for the day. I stuff my sleeping bag into it’s tiny bag, change into my hiking clothes which I wear every day till the next town I resupply in. Unzipping my tent I look up to the sky to see what the weather will be for the morning. I know that like the changing terrain of the trail, the weather can change just as often. My stinky socks that I have left outside my tent are put back on as well as my gaiters. I use gaiters to keep small rocks and sticks from entering my shoes.
Once out of my tent, it is a privy stop and then I go to retrieve my food bag which I have either hung in a tree or off a bear pole.
Anything to keep our food safe and the bears away. It is now time to cook my breakfast which had been oatmeal with freeze dried fruit and a coffee. While my breakfast cooks, I start packing my backpack. First clothes, then sleeping bag and air mattress. Next food bag, then on top of food bag goes a bag full of miscellaneous stuff, like charges, band-aids and matches. Along side that bag will go my kitchen-pot, lid, spoon, cup and stove. Last I take down my tent and stuff it into it’s bag and then push it into the pack.
I close everything up, check the area to make sure I didn’t forget any gear or trash. I make sure I have enough water till the next water source then off I go.
I hike, take pictures, talk to other hikers and think. At around 9:30 am it is second breakfast time which for me is a protein bar. 12:30 pm is lunch, tuna, or peanut butter or baloney.
The next thing is making it to camp which has been as early as 1 pm but is much better when it is 3-5 pm. Once Spirit and I go our separate ways, I will probably hike until 6 or 7. It is all dependent on the weather and terrain and other features along the trail which strike my curiosity.
A significant thing that happened this week is that Spirit fell on the trail as we came down The Priest Mountain.
Even though she was passed by a young hiker who didn’t even ask if she needed help as she laid in the trail, she cleaned her wounds and bandaged them and made it down to where I was waiting. I didn’t know she had fallen until I saw her bandaged leg.
We rested for a few minutes and then decided to continue on. We hadn’t gotten very far when she yelled, “Sookie, look.” I looked down at her leg and it had blown up and looked like and ostrich egg was sideways on her shin and blood was bubbling out. We got her down on the ground, raised her leg on her backpack and I grabbed my shirt to put pressure on the wound.
911 was called and we waited for assistance. When it arrived 2 1/2 hours later, Spirit was asked if she could walk. She says yes and gets up, throws on her backpack and beelines down the mountain.
She passes the paramedics, the gurney crew and everyone else who was there to help her. We made it down the mountain in 1 hour having gone 2.5 miles.
I think everyone afterwards wondered why they were called.
We did find out that some in the rescue crew didn’t like hiking, some did, and one saw a timber rattler and shook for 4 minutes afterwards.
We ended up in a cabin in Montebello, VA for the night with no way to contact the outside world.
The town consists of a general store, post office and fire hall. The next morning I went on the trail to hike alone to Waynesboro, VA.
Spirit headed to Stanimals 328 Hostel in Waynesboro to rest her leg until Sunday morning.
On Friday my husband Tom came through the area on his way to his brother Jerry’s and so I got to see him for 24 hours and he was on his way. It was a short visit for not seeing him for such a long time, but he encouraged me to go on to Maine.
And so I shall. Tomorrow Spirit and I will head into the Shenandoah National Park. We are hearing about all the bears and are sure to see a few.