July 25, 2013
Start: Smokemont Camp Ground | Finish: Burnt Spruce Campsite – CS 56 | Miles: 12.6 | Total: 45.7
Dear Jason, (as in dear diary…)
I left Smokemont at 9 am to tackle Newton Bald trail for the third time. Reached “your spot” at exactly the 90 minute leg. After a 15 minute break it was only 45 more minutes to the summit, and another 10 from there to the place where we were going to have lunch – Newton Bald. I saw a bunny eating the grass on the bald. He hopped away, but kept coming back and seemed amazingly tame. This being the second tallest summit of the hike at 5080′ (OK most of the dips and peaks of the morning of Day 2 were above 5200′) I was able to find a weak cell signal and send a few texts.
After lunch the rest of the day was actually quite boring and scenery-less. It was smooth and graded most of the 7.7 miles. At the bottom are the camp sites. The one I massed was actually quite creepy, and this one only slightly less. The trail along the valley floor seems to have been carved out of some deep woods with thick high magnolias on either side. After I set up camp – new record 22′ tree spacing – I went to get water. I could hear a stream on the other side of the magnolia thicket, and a trail going in. On the other side I popped out on a sandy beach beside a roaring stream on par with Jack’s River. There was a camp site there too – you would have loved it. But too late for me to move. The whole place feels a little less creepy now. A deer walked right through the middle of the camp, saw me but didn’t care. It is lonely though – I miss your company.
I guess I should look at tomorrow’s plan now.
I’m really low right now. Missing Jason. Where’s my hiker’s high? I could escape in to my audio books, but I’ll drain my battery and have 2 days left before Deal’s Gap. On my last long hike, when I first dreamed up this hike I reveled in the solitude. In the past year I have rediscovered social bonding – through [redacted meetup groups]. Now I yearn for it. I hope I can get my head around this hike, though.
Tomorrow: Power through? Focus on “being present”.