Day 110 – June 25 – 17.9 miles – Rattlesnake Spring to Gren Anderson Shelter
The tramily got on trail a little before 7. We had a full day planned, including swimming and Moms trail magic, so we were excited to get going.
Early in the day we passed several ponds.
After the ponds we came to a powerline view. Even though our view included the works of modern man, is was still cool to see the clouds below us.
6.4 miles into the hike we came to a side trail to Crater Lake. While that was a popular stop for Thru Hikers, Stoat and I knew of a more secluded lake nearby. We passed the side trail for Crater Lake and took the trail for Hemlock Lake instead.
The side trail to Hemlock Lake was longer than we remembered. Zeus and Flashfire didn’t grumble too much when the trail went on and on. Thankfully, when we got there, we found that we had the place to ourselves.
The lake had an area where an exposed rock face led gradually into the water. That is where we dropped our packs and took an hour and a half break. We spent the time there eating, swimming, and (Flashfires favorite) laying in the sun.
Eventualy we had to get going. We had to meet up with Mom 9 miles down the trail at 2pm.
Our Tramily Tree
On the way to meet up with Mom we had several nice views.
At one point a rain storm looked like is was going to hit us. Luckily, it turned and began to parallel our route. It was cool to see the nearby landscape get soaked with rain, while we were high and dry and in the sun.
Soon we came to a wooded area. We could see an open area through the trees just ahead and knew we had reached the parking lot where Mom was doing Trail Magic. The time was 1:58. Two minutes early.
When we emerged from the woods we could see Mom across the parking lot. Mom later told us that she promised herself she wouldn’t cry. As soon as Stoat walked over to give her a hug she broke that promise.
Accompanying Mom was our step dad Marc, and our 92 year old grandmother. It was great to see them.
After exchanging hugs all around all out attention went to the food. Mom really outdid herself. The list of things she brought includes:
Submarine sandwiches, pulled chicken with BBQ sauce, fresh rolls from a bakery, macaroni salad, homemade brownies, pre-made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, soda, gatorade, water, and a whole lot of snacks.
Flashfire spotted a large flat box and picked it up. She said to Mom “Do you want to see a grown man cry”, and opened it in front of Zeus. Zeus’ eyes went wide and he let out a gasp. Inside the box were doughnuts fresh from the bakery.
Our Aunt Pat and Aunt Sue showed up, followed by a bunch of Thru Hikers. Not long after that my boss and his wife ( Our aunt ) pulled into the parking lot. They opened a cooler to reveal watermelon and Corona beer! Perfect!
Mom brought a soccer ball out of her car and Flashfire got very excited. Back in Germany she was on a soccer team and missed playing with them. She immediately went into the middle of the parking lot and began juggling the ball. She was very good.
Marc, a professional musician, brought my banjo and guitar, and we played several tunes.
When I went to get more food, Songbird asked Marc if she could play a few tunes. She and Marc played for a while. She was good!
More hikers showed up, but the original ones didn’t leave. We just flopped on the ground. We let Mom know that was a sign of very good trail magic.
You may have noticed that a lot of the hikers were sitting on small foam pads. Sure, they kept us from getting dirtier but that wasn’t the reason we used them. We had literally hiked our butts off. Sitting on any hard surface was very uncomfortable. We would use them every time we sat down. Best $12 I’ve ever spent.
The soccer ball wasn’t the only thing Mom had for Flashfire. She had Flashfires new shoes. I don’t think Flashfire could have been any happier.
At one point, to our surprise, Supe strolled into the parking lot. We hadn’t seen him since we had met him in an ice storm on Clingmans Dome (Day 30). We didn’t get to talk to him much with all the craziness going on, but it was great to see him.
I began to see the trail community as a deck of cards that had hikers printed on them instead of numbers and members of royalty. Every day the deck would get shuffled. Everyday held a chance to reunite with old friends or make new ones.
We spent a long time at Moms trail magic. It wasn’t until around 5 that we decided we better get back on trail. Luckily we only had about 2.5 miles to go. We took several pictures together. After which, Mom made sure we took some food “for the road”.
After many thanks and hugs, we waved goodbye and headed out.
Our Mother watched as her sons..
Disappeared back into the woods
The last several miles of the day were very nice.
There was another fire tower and the views from the top made an already fantastic day, even better.
When we got to the Shelter a lot of the hikers who were at the trail magic were there. Cash was one of the people there. When he saw us he said, ” You guys seriously undersold how good your moms trail magic was going to be.”