Day 33: Haunted

Cosby Knob Shelter [mile 230.1]

You know… I was wondering today if this hike is haunted. That thing with the glove was freaky. I mean, I shook everything out twice inside the shelter, then turned it all inside out and shook it outside the shelter, then did the same thing when I got to Pecks last night. I changed, wrote, went to the privy, and when I came back the glove was sitting on my quilt.

Somebody left me a dime next to my mat. And the batteries on my headlamp keep draining.

Anyway… it’s all a little odd! Somebody told me it’s because of my trail name. I prefer the idea that somebody (or somebodies) is traveling with me.

That’s an aside. Now to the meat of the day.

In a nutshell: great day! I started with a dead headlamp (despite fresh lithim batteries). Bud offered me his spare batteries and I gratefully accepted—then the headlamp abruptly started working again.

The day was a climb. Up and up and up into deep winter. The ice was treacherous. One of my traction devices broke, so for a while I was slipping on one foot…slip-grip, slip-grip. I fell twice. A bit later, the other one broke, too.

A moment of silence for the poor traction thingies. You did your job well, and if you lived only two days, well, they were exactly the two days you were most needed! That’s the thing about the trail: today’s solutions pretty much stay in today. For tomorrow’s problems, you have to come up with new solutions. 🙂

(I may buy a set of actual microspikes for the Whites, if I get that far. But that’s months from now; there are plenty of other hazards to negotiate before then.)

So. Ice and snow upstairs. Then slowly, summer came. As I descended down from the highest elevations, the snow was melting. Vigorously. In fact, for a painful one-mile stretch, the trail was a creek. My feet were drenched, and my pants were mud to the knee.

After that, though… summer! The sun came out. It had to be 70 degrees. OK, 60. I was down to shirtsleeves for a while. There were tiny flowers!

So this is my last night in the Smokes. I can’t figure out how far I want to go tomorrow, once the Smokey chains are cut. There’s a hostel at ten miles, but I’d like to save the money and time and push on to Hot Springs. Rain coming Thursday, though.

Ah. well. Torrow’s problems tomorrow. 🙂

Yesterday was my one-month trailiversary. What a month! I feel like if I survived this last month, I can handle anything the trail throws at me. And I appear to have survived! Knock wood.

So… ten percent of the trail, done! That feels pretty damn huge. It also reminds me how immense this trail is.

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