Tenting at Lance Creek [mile 24.3]
Today was magnificent. One of the advantages of the early start is the views through the bare trees; mountains on mountains on mountains like smoke in the distance, under a pure blue sky. The terrain isn’t much different from what we have in Pennsylvania—a thick carpet of last year’s leaves, barren trees at attention, but punctuated with vibrant green pines, the feathery type rather than the Christmas tree type.
I managed to get out of camp at about 8:30–near the back end of the middle of the pack. That’s an improvement! I have so much to learn. I’ve been drinking out of creeks and springs, and the water tastes a little like badger piss. That may be my water purification chemicals. In any event, it’s the best tasting badger piss I’ve ever had the pleasure of gulping. 🙂
A lot of ups and downs today, but gorgeous weather. Rain’s coming Monday, they’re saying, then more warm days.
First trail magic today! Not far out of Gooch, a fraternity left bottled water and snacks. Then… second trail magic! A wonderful hiker and trail angel had a lunch set up at Woody Gap—vegetable beef soup, bread, crackers, hot chocolate, coffee. He’s a fantastic guy and a real character, with a lot of stories. The AT community is amazing.
Saw a ton of day hikers today. Even after a few days, they seemed odd to me, without a big pack.
Things I wish I’d brought: a few handywipes. Things I’m glad I brought: my stretchy buff and a pair of sun sleeves.
Lance Creek is PACKED. It’s like a foke festival, tents crowded into every available spot. The next five miles require a bear canister, so there’s a big bottleneck here. My advice would be to get here early!
Tomorrow’s a big day. Sassafrass Mountain (or Sassafrass-my-ass, as a hiker at Gooch said last night) was mile uphill. Tomorrow is the dreaded Blood Mountain—five miles straight up. At the end, though, is the legendary Neels Gap. Can’t wait to see it!