Day 40 -April 16 2017- 17.3 miles – Hemlock Hollow Hostel to Flint Mountain Shelter
The Hostel owner gave Wolfie, Stoat, and I a ride back to the trail head and we began our day with a 2000 foot climb.
At the top of the climb there was a side trail to a closed lookout tower with no view. We decided to skip that one.
A few miles later we came to Whiterock cliffs. We decided to have a bite to eat and enjoy the view.
While we were hanging out, Drop Top stopped by. He was going to wait at the next shelter because Bear Bait stayed in town a little longer than he did. He only had 4 miles left to hike that day so he decided to linger at the cliffs.
Soon after the cliffs we got to a sign that said, ” Exposed Ridgeline Trail”. We stopped for a minute to do a gut check on the weather. Our guts said “Onward!”
The ridgeline was called Firescald. It was rocky, exposed, fun and beautiful.
The ability to see for miles in all directions was completely unexpected. Somehow that made the experience even better.
After 1.5 miles the ridgeline walk ended, but that didn’t mean we didn’t have anything to look forward to. The 300 mile mark was less than 2 miles away
Stoat and I had an agreement. Even if one of us was way ahead of the other we would always wait for the other when crossing state lines and hundred mile marks. We missed the 200 mile marker because it was covered in snow. We didn’t miss the 300. We stepped past it at the same time and gave each other a high five.
We passed the shelter where Drop Top and Bear Bait were to meet up and kept going.
Two miles later we arrived at Big Butt mountain. The name, while crude, was an accurate description of what it looked like. I could see the use of such a name. “How do you get to so-and-so?”, “Well, you get to the mountain that looks like a big ol butt and make a left…..”
For a little while we got to go through a beautiful field. That was one of the great things about the AT. One part of the day could look very different from the next.
Eventually we got to the Flint Mountain Shelter. There were a bunch of thru hikers we had never seen before gathered around a fire. It was kind of cool that we were still meeting new hikers this far into the trip. I guess that 8 days off due to sickness had something to do with it, though now that I think of it, I don’t think we ever stopped meeting new thru hikers on the trail.
A quick list of the names I remembered to write down: Bisquick – He would cook with bisquick from time to time. Brooklyn – A girl from….Brooklyn. Red Squatch – He had red hair and was a large dude. Yoda – He would spout philosophic rants at random.
Yoda was quite the character. His footwear consisted of socks and crocs. I have no idea how he made it that far without injury. I’m not just talking about his footwear either. He was a nice guy but he could get annoying. He started talking to me about worlds inside of worlds. He held a twig and said, “You see this stick? There are entire worlds inside.” he began to really get into it. “YOU SEE THIS STICK? THERE ARE ENTIRE GALAXIES IN HERE! YOU SEE THIS STICK?” That went on for a little while. I felt like picking up a branch and saying ” YOU SEE THIS STICK? I AM GOING TO HIT YOU WITH IT IF YOU DON’T CALM DOWN!” I was already annoyed at him because he checked his “blood circle” (The danger area around a person when they are holding a knife) with an open knife while I was sitting right next to him. He was harmless and a nice guy, but he was a little too far out there for me.
As I was trying to fall asleep in my hammock I could hear new age instrumental music coming from the shelter. Yoda was playing it to “help” everyone fall asleep.