Day 62 -May 8 2017 – 20.3 miles – Bland to Dismal Falls
Grumpy, Stoat, and I ate breakfast while Zeus and Flashfire caught an early ride to the trail from Graybeard. We got a ride back to the trail from a friend of Bubba. ( The guy that runs a shuttle in Bland) The shuttle drivers car had a breathalyzer attached to the ignition. While I’m not one to judge, it did not instill too much confidence in our safety. The driver was also a little confused as to where he was taking us as he did not know that the AT passed through his town. That was not uncommon in larger towns but it was a little surprising in a small town of 409 people. To further explain why he didn’t know about it he simply said, ” I’ve never been to that part of town.”
Slim Shady, Grumpy, Stoat, and I all took the shuttle to the trail head and soon became confused. The trail dumped us onto a road and the trail wasn’t marked very well. Stoat went up a trail only to turn back a minute later. Not the AT. We kept going and eventually got our bearings. Where the trail turned from the road back into to the woods we saw a sign above some trashcans.
We wondered how many deer carcasses kept showing up in the trash to necessitate putting up a sign.
The weather was great and the terrain was fairly easy. The miles started to fly by. Ten miles into the days hike we got to the 600 mile mark.
It felt like we passed the 500 mile mark only yesterday and here we were at the 600 mile mark. Stoat and I did our traditional high five and kept going.
At one point we bumped into Tiny Tims crew. (Sticks, Squeaks, Goddess, Ontario) Somehow I got to the front of the line. When your in the front of a thru hikers you either have to be the fastest one or get out of the way. As I started to go up a hill Tiny Tim was right behind me. I thought, “Let me see what these new legs can do.” I hit the gas and started flying up the hill. A few minutes later I looked back and no one was there. I pushed harder. I didn’t stop pushing the pace until I got to the point where Stoat and I agreed to meet up if we got separated. It was a while until I saw anyone else. Tiny Tim passed by and said, ” Damn Straps. I looked down for a second and when I looked up you were gone!”
Near the end of the day we came to a nice field area. I hung back from Stoat and Grumpy for a minute to enjoy the moment.
After the field I met up with Stoat and Grumpy at a suspension bridge.
We decided to hike on the the Dismal Falls campsite and skip the burger joint that way a little off trail. If we hadn’t just left a town we might have decided otherwise.
After the bridge Stoat and I booked it to the campsite. We covered the last 1.8 miles in 20 minutes. When we got to the turn off for the campsite we waited a while for Grumpy. When he didn’t show we figured he took a break and would find the campsite easily enough. The campsite was another 0.3 miles down a side trail. When we got to the end we saw Flashfire, Zeus, and Slim Shady hanging out around a fire.
We heard a hiker walking in the distance and thought it might have been Grumpy. We called over to them but didn’t get a response. We eventully decided that Grumpy must have set up camp elsewhere.
We were told that the falls were worth a look so we dropped our packs and went over to them before it got too dark.
The Dismal Falls were not dismal at all. If fact it looked like a great swimming hole. If it was only a little warmer out we would have.
We went back and joined everyone around the campfire.
Journal excerpt 5/8/2017 – ” Starting to feel very free out here. Doing what we want with no plan or rules but our own.”