Day 68 -May 14 2017 -14.8 miles – Laurel creek Shelter to Mile Marker 688
My shoes had shown some premature wear over the last few days and were quickly falling apart. Both shoes had holes in the front and the side of the toe box area. Dirt and sand was getting into my shoes and threatened to give me hot spots if I didn’t stop and empty them out.
It was hard to be upset at some equipment failure when the weather was so good, the trail promised to be easier, and we had a hiker feed waiting for us.
In the beginning of the day the trail brought us through beautiful farm land.
I had to take pictures of these flowers for our mom for Mothers Day. Of course, we also sent her a bouquet of flowers. She was the third person on the team after all.
Soon we came to the Keffer oak tree. It was the second largest oak tree on the AT and it was over 300 years old.
There were several large logs lying around and I first mistook them as fallen trees. I wasn’t until I looked closer at the oak tree that I realized they were actually fallen branches.
Stoat and I hung around that spot for a while. Scarecrow showed up and we talked to him a little while. Mostly we just looked at the tree though. To be around a living thing that was that over 300 years old was almost overwhelming. I tried to imagine all the weather it had endured, all the animals that had called it home, and how different the lives of the people that had visited it over the years would have been from my own.
As I was looking around I figured that one of the reasons that the Keffer Oak had survived so long was that it looked to be on a property border of some sort. What better way to mark a property boundary than an oak tree?
After passing the Keffer Oak the trail climbed up 1000 feet to a ridge. There were many nice views from that ridge for about five miles.
At the end of that five mile section we came to a sign that let us know we had been walking on the Eastern Continental Divide. All the water that drained to the left wound up in the gulf of mexico, and to our right, the Atlantic.
From the sign we had a five mile, 2000 foot descent that would bring us to the hiker feed. I flew down the mountain. I passed by Avalanche, whom we just recently met. I yelled something like, “I NEED FOOD!”, and kept running down the trail. I must have looked like a crazy person.
When Stoat and I got to the hiker feed Zeus and Flashfire where already there. Flashfire pointed us toward the person in charge. She pointed because her mouth was full.
The woman in charge pointed out all the food available and let us know there was more on the way. They had a dutch oven running over flames and every hour there was a new course. That way a hiker could have freshly cooked food no matter what time they got there.
We had a great time. We were meeting new faces and old ones that we hadn’t seen in a while. One hiker, named Rock, we hadn’t seen since mile 240.
The lady in charge was super nice and she had grown up in a town about 20 minutes from were we grew up. She gave a short speech that told us why they were doing the hiker feed. She said that what we were doing was changing the world for the better by bettering ourselves. That was it. No other reason. They saw people trying to do something and just wanted to help, and they were spending their Mothers day with us to do it.
Two of the volunteers there were a mother and daughter that had thru hiked SOBO the year before. The daughters trail name was Kiwi and I talked to her for a little bit about her hike. When I asked her for advice she said, ” Just enjoy it. It’ll all be over too fast. Just enjoy every day.”
According to Flashfire and Zeus I was completely enamored with her. I wasn’t, but I sure didn’t mind talking to a attractive woman about thru hiking. Either way they teased me later about it. What is tramily for if not to bust on each other a little?
After stuffing ourselves at the Hiker Feed we were in no condition to hike very far. We hiked less than a mile and called it a day.
The forest was really starting to feel like home. Finding a spot to camp and setting up felt like second nature. It didn’t feel like we were camping anymore. It was just part of living in the woods.
After only 14 days of hiking in my new shoes it was becoming clear that it would be time for new ones. The small holes had grown larger. I had to walk slightly differently to keep my big toes from coming out of them. I just hoped they would last the 2 days it would take to get to the town of Daleville.