Miles hiked today: 19.1
Miles hiked total: 438.3
Miles to go: 1747.0
This morning I started the day with an epic uphill climb up Pond Flats Mountain, which was anything but flat. It took a couple of hours to climb up and down the whole thing, and by the time we reached Watauga Lake, it was lunch time. The lake was really pretty with picnic areas to rest at and even bathrooms with flushing toilets! We enjoyed lunch, threw out our trash, used the bathrooms a couple of times, and then continued hiking. We wanted to get some big miles in today because we’re anxious about making it to Damascus in two days for our next zero day.
After leaving the lake, we got stuck behind a prison crew out maintaining the trail. Once we passed them, we were able to pick up our speed a bit. It was a six mile climb, or so, to the next shelter (mostly uphill), and we were all anxious to get there. Stylez quickly got ahead and reached the shelter maybe 10 minutes or so before I did. The climb up was a bit of a drag, in my opinion. I kept thinking the shelter would be right around the corner, and then ten minutes would pass and there was still no sight of it. I started to think it just didn’t exist, or that I had missed it. But then I heard voices and knew it must be close.
At the shelter I talked with a section hiker for a bit and also met a new thru-hiker named Merman. He has long red hair and a red beard and ultimately looks like Ariel’s twin brother, which is rather awesome. I only stopped at the shelter for maybe 20 minutes or so before deciding to press on. There were still four more miles to hike and not a lot of time left in the day, so we boogied on down the trail.
We’ve set up camp tonight in a bog and camping near us is a thru-hiker named Sherpa, who’s an older hiker and he has the same tent as me (except the 2-person version).
Okay, time to sleep! I’m hoping to hike a 20-miler tomorrow so I gotta get a lot of rest!