Day 14: Saturday, May 14th 2016
It was so quiet out last night I almost couldn’t sleep. No birds, no creeks, nothing, just silence. At one point at 2am I woke up and almost couldn’t go back to sleep it was so quiet. My left foot is bothering me a little but I’m hoping for the best. It’s cold this morning so I opt for pants and my small jacket. I sing “I Think We’re Alone Now” and let the windy day hit me in the face when I unzip my tent. I eat breakfast and get my things together and pop some Ibuprofen. I say to myself “Let’s do this!” I pass by a lean to frame structure and I know I’m on the right path.
A mile and a half later I’m at a standstill. I double check my trail guide and my thru-hikers manual and I got nothing. I’ve come to a part in the trail that opens up and you can go left or you can go right. Nowhere on my guide books does it say to go right. I drop my pack and go left which is up and see no white blazes for about two minutes. Hmm. So I check right and there a double white circle blaze. Two circles indicate the direction. If the top circle is a little more left, you go left. Same for the right. These circles however appear to be right on top of one another. Not helpful. I ponder this over some cheese and crackers where you dip your crackers into the cheese. The ones you put in your lunchbox for school growing up. Tasty. So I turn my phone on to check about the next creek, that will help determine the correct way, no service. After a good thirty minutes I decide to go right where the blazes are more noticeable and just pray it’s the correct choice. At this point, I’m walking using my gut feeling. Please let my gut be right! I’d love it more if it was right today! I try to think positive thoughts about my choice instead of things like; where does this go if it’s not the right way? I passed people yesterday, where are they when you really need them? What if it’s not the right way? I think positive. Positive, positive, positive! (Just like Debbie from Knocked Up) After almost 2 miles I see another t-crossing. Hells Bells! This time I look around really good and see a white circle blaze! It’s almost like a mirage to me, I have to make sure I really see it, so I get up close. YAY!! It’s really there!
Now I’m on the right track for sure and I’m really happy and a little mad about the confusion of that part of the trail. I put a note in my journal to tell someone about this later. A few more blazes on that part would do the trail a favor. The wind is ferocious today and the top of the trees are brushing together and making awful noises above me. Sometimes its bird noises and when I look up to make sure that it really is just birds I say out loud “If you’re a bird, I’m a bird!” That makes me smile and calms my nervous about birds pecking at me later when I miss the trail and end up lost. Which I won’t because I can always call for help if I really do need it.
At 1:50pm I make it to a real MST sign with arrows and circles with all the bells and whistles and realize I’ve hit my 100 mile marker! Well, I hit it .7miles back but close enough. WOOHOO!!! 100 MILES!!
I celebrate with some water and ½ bag of Frosted Flakes and take a picture. Up next, I decide to make it to the next camping spot and call it a day. It’s only 2.4 miles away. My foot is still giving me some trouble and I still have this wretched cough and I’m pretty much over it for the day. I cross several small streams and then see these huge rock piles. There are eight of them and then go a little further to see what my guide calls them, “speed bumps” which are these big piles of dirt. Up and down I go over four of them. They’re used to discourage ATV traffic. Thankfully a few of them have small side trails that hikers can use to go around instead of up and over. Going down is better than up but not when there’s a chance your pack will go over your head.
More walking leads to another MST sign which I walk right past to my campsite for the night. I put my pack down and check out the view. The campsite is on top of a hill that overlooks a big open field. When the wind blows it changes the long blades of grass from light green to dark green. It almost looks like waves rolling on the top of a mountain side. I find a place to sit and finish my bag of Frosted Flakes and journal. It’s only 4:26 so I sit and watch clouds slide by as a way to pass the time. The sun is out and it warms me up but the breeze is still enough to need my jacket. It’s an interesting day here on the BRP. I take my shoes off and let them enjoy the sun before I set up my tent for the night. It’s good to get some downtime in. By 5:48 I’m in my camp clothes and bored. I should have kept hiking another 4 miles in the pretty weather but I really did want/ need some downtime. I go for a walk to the other side of the grassy field and take a few pictures. Now’s when I wish I had a good book and a cold beer. Even still, I yawn and look at pictures and eat a bit more before I find a good potty spot and lay down for the night. I’m in my tent by 6:44pm and I’m ready for bed even though the sun is still out. I don’t think I’ve made it to hiker midnight yet which is 9pm.
Total Miles: 103.3
Day 15: Sunday, May 15th 2016
I slept and I tossed and I turned a lot. My cough is getting worse and I don’t have any meds for that. But I need some soon. I wake up at 3:05 and its freezing! I pull my hood over my head and then tighten the top of my sleeping bag so there’s just a little hole. I get my bandana and cover the small hole as to not let any cold air in at all. It kinda works, it’s better than before and that’s good enough. I don’t know if it was the cold or the ground but my sleep was crap last night. I wake up around 6:45am hear no birds. It must have frozen them in the night. It’s freezing… literally. I unzip my tent and there’s frost on it. It breaks off in tiny pieces all over my hand and some falls inside onto my pants and seeps in making my legs cold. I cough and my throat feels like it’s on fire, ouch! I go get my bear canister and it’s just too cold to hike this morning. I eat breakfast in my tent, a glazed Honey Bun (brings back memories of Northwood Swim Club) I’ve been saving since Cherokee, and then get back in my sleeping bag. I sleep until 9:23am and I can see the sunlight trying to come through in my tent. I change and finally get to hiking.
As soon as I’m back on the trail there are these huge rock ups again. Maybe it’s the cold weather, maybe it’s because I still really enjoy the movie the Titanic but I start singing that “Come Josephine” song where Rose is on that big ass door in the middle of the ocean.
“Come Josephine in my flying machine Going up she goes! Up she goes!” and that’s really the only part I know so I just sing it over and over and over again. Then I get mad at Rose all over again for not getting Jack on that door.
A mile and a half later I’m crossing a road on the BRP and then back into the woods. I’m taking my time hiking and enjoying what has now become a gorgeous day. A little windy but nothing compared to yesterday. I’m not sure why but I want to tell yesterday that its Momma can wear army boots. Madre and Dad will like that one. I’m making my way over another mountain stream when I look up and see a lady. She’s a trail runner and she asks me if she’s still on the MST. I tell her yes, keep going. I stop shy of Middle Prong Wilderness for some snacks and water break and I see a guy hiking and say Hi. I get nothing. He keeps walking towards me so I ask if he’s enjoying his hike. He answers “Yes” and keeps on walking. I’m disappointment that he couldn’t even spare a few words. Oh well, water in the Titanic I suppose. I try not to let it bother me but when there’s a chance of people I’m always up for a quick chat. Moving on.
I become chilly sitting in the shade snacking and hurry to finish because I suppose I’m missing the sweat. I make it 4.3 miles by 1:44pm and check maps and trail guides again. The Middle Prong isn’t blazed it’s only trails and sometimes more than one and I don’t want have a repeat of yesterday. Today’s going much better and I’d like to keep it that way. Two day hikers and a dog pass me and I make sure I’m still on the right trail, which I am, good. I soon come up on a MST sign and then several small logs to cross over a boggy area. I channel my best Phyllis Nefler and say out loud “I am the log.” After a quick fuss with my daughter I’m over that log and the other girls cheer. Haha! Today I’m a true wilderness girl!
We’re the girls from Beverly Hills 1, 2, 3, 4. Shopping is our greatest skill 5, 6, 7, 8. We will fight and try real hard 1, 2, 3, 4. Leave behind our credit card 5, 6, 7, 8. Beverly Hills what a thrill!
I run into the couple with their dog again and I let them pass me. They’re lapping me but they are day hikers so I keep that in mind. I pass a section where huge green plants are and it reminds me of Without a Paddle and those guy running into those weed plant fields. I laugh and think of Bubba and how many times we watched that movie. I think of Bubba doing the “Yeah. Yeah. Yeah!” part. I come across that couple again, this time they’re snacking in a small field off to the left in the trail. They’re waiting for me. They tell me a woman was found tied to a tree on the MST and they haven’t found the man responsible for it yet. Fuck! I just hope that he’ll be caught soon and there’s nothing I can do about it but worry so I do my best not to. I thank them for the information, it’s better to be aware, and keep walking. I’m only a little freaked out. I make it to where the trail leaves Middle Prong Wilderness, thank goodness. No blazes do make it hard to follow a trail. I cross NC 215 and it’s just another 2.4 miles to where I want to stop for the night at a campsite. I make my way up again over tons of tree roots and steep ups and keep thinking “not that far, keep going!” I finally do. I’m still a little freaked about today’s news so I get my tent up quickly. Safe in my tiny tent is all I want. I get it up and eat a little and just crawl inside. Then more voices. Thankfully its two guys, not one, and they look like thru-hikers with their big packs. They say a quick hello and do mention that they got robbed by a bear last night. They didn’t have the required bear canister they hung bear bags and the bear took it all. So now I’m worried about bears again… and creepy weird guy tying up girls to a tree. At 7:11pm I get as ready as I can for sleep and tidy up in my tent. Tonight I’ve got my whistle, Gerber multi-tool with the knife out and ready, my bear spray, and my flashlight super close to me. I lay down and try to think of the funniest things possible and close my eyes. I wish myself good luck.
Total Miles: 112.5