Day 67 -May 13 2017 – 17.3 miles – mile marker 655.9 to Laurel Creek Shelter
It rained real hard last night. When Slim Shady woke up he found himself partly immersed in a puddle. All his gear was soaked. He left as soon as he could to try to warm up though physical exertion.
That was a technique we would use as well. We had a sleeping shirt and a hiking shirt. One of the last things we would do before getting back on trail in the morning would be to change into our hiking shirts. If they were cold and wet, they were cold and wet. We would warm up on the trail soon enough.
The small stream that we were camped next to had turned into a raging stream overnight.
When we got back on the trail there was quite a bit of flooding.
After the fooded areas we came to a section of slippery rocks that was becoming all too familiar.
We walked through an area with a lot of ferns. The smell emanating from them reminded me of the smell of LIFE cereal. My stomach started to growl at the thought of it.
Stoat had bumped his leg on a log that he was stepping over. He must of hit his tibia at just the right angle and it started to swell up. It caused him some discomfort but he was able to go on.
My ankle pain was still bothering me but not enough to stop hiking.
After noon the skies cleared up and the sun came out. The warmth of the sun was a great feeling.
We met back up with Zeus and Flashfire at the War Spur Shelter. We stopped there for lunch and wound up taking a hour and a half break.
It was around that shelter where we saw Stargazer for the first time since day 14 or so. We had only said hello to each other the first time we met and we maintained that tradition by saying hello and hiking on. It was still nice to see hikers that had started around the time we did, no matter how causally we knew each other.
On our way up to Kelly Knob we passed some dayhikers coming from the other direction. One of the guys in the group saw us and immediately picked up the large dog that was with him. We thought that was a little strange until we found out that the dog had gone after Flashfire , who was a few minutes ahead of us, and she had to fend it off with her trekking poles. Thankfully she was ok. It would have been awful if she had to get off the trail because a dog attacked her.
Soon we arrived at Kelly Knob. Kelly Knob is a rock outcropping on the side of a cliff. There were several small fissures that we had to hop across to get to the best view. Scarecrow was there and we hung out for a while.
I took of my shoes and socks to dry them out a little bit and we enjoyed the view and the warmth of the sun.
A family stopped by at one point to check out the view. We talked to them a little bit and we found out the wife had a sad story. Back in the 1980’s her brother was planning to do the trail. He had all his gear, his plans were set, and was ready to go. A few weeks before his start date he was tragically killed in a car crash. He never got to set foot on the AT. They were out there that day to see a part of the Appalachian Trail in honor of him.
They were very tentative about coming anywhere near the cliffs edge. They absolutely would not cross any of the small fissures to get to the best vantage point. At the time we thought that was kind of funny. There we were in bare feet, nonchalantly lounging on the edge while they were nervous in their complete safety. Now I look at it differently. They were obviously not “outdoorsy” people yet they still left their comfort zone to honor a deceased family member. Good for them.
After lounging a little more we hiked the 1.2 miles to the Laurel creek shelter.
At the shelter almost all the talk was about the “hiker feed” that was happening the next day. We joked around that the term “hiker feed” sounded like they were feeding some sort of wild animal and that we would have to eat from a trough without using our hands.
In all seriousness the hiker feed looked like it might be really good. The feed had been advertised in shelters over 100 miles away. Here’s what the flyer said:
13th ANNUAL HIKER FEED
When: Sunday May 14 2017
Time: 2:00pm – 7:00pm
Where: VA 621 in Graig Creek Valley
Whats cooking: This is not your average hiker feed…We cook in dutch ovens right on the trail – Lasagna, homemade garlic rolls, apple/berry cobbler, grilled chicken, quesadillas, tofu spring rolls, fresh fruit and veggies… salads… desserts
At a time when the smell of ferns was making me hungry, a flyer like that awoke feelings in my stomach that I didn’t know were there before.