Day #11: The Big Push

Day #11

Standing Indian Mountain –> Winding Stair Gap

22 miles

109.8 Total AT miles

Oh boy. What a day. Today we ground out 22miles, our longest yet of the trail. The Time Travelers (Mr, Kool Aid, Savage, and Cool Dad) passed their resupply point and ran out food. Cool Dad left camp at sunrise to push on ahead. We found a note outlining his plan: 1:30pm. Hiking ahead to get food. Meet at Winding Stair Gap.

We pooled our resources and shared what food we had to get everyone through the day. We finished the hike just at sunset coming into the parking lot. Cool Dad rolled up moments later in a Jeep Rubicon with fresh food, wine, and a good story.

Dave is an older gentleman that spends his time helping hikers. Today, his first shuttle run began at 7am. It’s now 8:30pm as he drops off Cool Dad with food to get us through the night. What a long day! Thanks for everything Dave.

I emerged from the wood to see an old man standing beside a Jeep Wrangler. “Son, are you a thru-hiker on the Appalachian Trail? Do you need a ride into town?” –Cool Dad telling the story of meeting Dave.

Not long after Dave left, a group of day hikers came out of the woods. One of the girls leaves in a few weeks to thru-hike the trail and passed on some trail magic: beer. We spent some time talking before it was time to hit the sack. Hiker midnight is 9pm. Thanks girls! Good luck on your adventure.

For camp, we just pitched our tents in the grass alongside the highway. I’ve camped like this so many times on my bike travels. The sounds of the highway made me feel at home again. The others weren’t so sure at first and began hiking back up the mountain to a campsite. A few minutes climbing after such a long day, they quickly changed their minds agreeing to camp in the grass.

The day begins in the fog atop Standing Indian Mountain. We woke a bit wet but quickly dried out. The weather remained cool, perfect for the long days hike.
The day begins in the fog atop Standing Indian Mountain. We woke a bit wet but quickly dried out. The weather remained cool, perfect for the long days hike.
Canuck packing camp in the fog.
Canuck packing camp in the fog.
A bowl of oatmeal for breakfast. I was so hungry I ate most of the pot before thinking about taking the photo!
A bowl of oatmeal for breakfast. I was so hungry I ate most of the pot before thinking about taking the photo!
Canuck exiting another Rhododendron tunnel.
Canuck exiting another Rhododendron tunnel.
We met Spur at coffee time. Spur is a Triple Crowner (thru-hiked the three big trails: AT, PCT, and CDT) and has completed six thru-hikes. His first began as a ten day hike that he didn't want to end so he just kept walkin till the trail ended. Nice!
We met Spur at coffee time. Spur is a Triple Crowner (thru-hiked the three big trails: AT, PCT, and CDT) and has completed six thru-hikes. His first began as a ten day hike that he didn’t want to end so he just kept walkin till the trail ended. Nice! His trailname comes from “Spur of the Moment” based on his decision to keep hiking after the 10 days.
Canuck at a mountain overlook.
Canuck at a mountain overlook.
Moss on a tree limb.
Moss on a tree limb.
Savage and Mr. Kool Aid taking a break.
Savage and Mr. Kool Aid taking a break.
The AT white blaze.
The AT white blaze.

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Mr. Kool Aid's speaker.
Mr. Kool Aid’s speaker.
Mr. Kool Aid rocking out to music from that speaker!
Mr. Kool Aid rocking out to music from that speaker!
Some of the climbing today is near vertical. Notice the white blaze in the top next to Canuck. More bouldering than hiking!
Some of the climbing today is near vertical. Notice the white blaze in the top next to Canuck. More bouldering than hiking!

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The Time Travelers use the orange flagging ribbon when they stop at night. Whoever stops first ties the ribbon to the sign post so the others know to stop. Trail Families sticking together!
The Time Travelers use the orange flagging ribbon when they stop at night. Whoever stops first ties the ribbon to the sign post so the others know to stop. Trail Families sticking together!
A fire tower atop Albert Mountain. Quite the climb to the top of this one!
A fire tower atop Albert Mountain. Quite the climb to the top of this one!
The view from atop the tower.
The view from atop the tower.
Climbing back down. It sure was cold up there!
Climbing back down. It sure was cold up there!
looking out through the fire tower.
looking out through the fire tower.
Mr. Kool Aid's lone wolf patch. He came out here alone thinking he'd be hiking alone. Then, he met his trail fam.
Mr. Kool Aid’s lone wolf patch. He came out here alone thinking he’d be hiking alone. Then, he met his trail fam.

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This bird had a bad day. Something ate him/her.
This bird had a bad day. Something ate him/her.
Canuck shared some tortilla peanut butter and honey wraps with us to keep us going. Thanks Canuck!
Canuck shared some tortilla peanut butter and honey wraps with us to keep us going. Thanks Canuck!

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You can see into the privy from the trail. Definitely different pooping and watching your friends walk past!

 

Mr. Kool Aid taking care of buisiness.
Mr. Kool Aid taking care of buisiness.
A tree fell on this shelter not too long ago with five people sleeping inside. No one was hurt.
A tree fell on this shelter not too long ago with five people sleeping inside. No one was hurt.
The tree that split uprooting another.
The tree that split uprooting another.
Garbage cans are exciting things out here. You'd be surprised at how much joy comes from the smallest of things.
Garbage cans are exciting things out here. You’d be surprised at how much joy comes from the smallest of things.

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Hiking into sunset
Hiking into sunset

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Mr Kool Aid filling up on water.
Mr Kool Aid filling up on water.

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The nights campsite.

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Home: The Next Adventure Awaits

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May 13th, 2015

Loudspeakers announce arriving and departing aircraft, first in Spanish then in English. Electronic boards convey the same information in an easier to understand form. I am in the El Salvador (5th and final country of the trip!) International airport returning from the bathroom. I’m still a little sick.

A chubby latino boy, returning home with his family from a visit with relatives, waddles up to me with a curios twinkle in his eye. “Gee mister,” he says with a hint of southern drawl. “You sure have a lot of stuff.”

“I do?” I say scrunching my face perplexed.

“You sure do! Stuff’s hanging all over you.” I think back to the reflection in the bathroom mirror. Two yellow bags, each nearly the size of my torso, hang on each side and are stuffed to overflowing. Another yellow bag from my handle-bar hangs around my neck. A small black backpack clings to my back.  Continue reading