Wednesday, August 7, 2013
Start: Hudson Gap | Finish: Falls Branch Falls | Miles: 17.0 | Total: 246.1
It rained all night, and was pouring when I awoke. Being on a relatively hard surface, everything got plenty of splatter from the rain, even though it was all tucked away under the hammock. Packing up in the rain is a pain in the ass, and so I was on the trail by 8:50. It was still raining but I went with no poncho since the canopy is so dense. I know – the same amount of water gets through in the end. But the drops are bigger and farther apart. (Side note – I had a brief spell of the inner ear spinning this morning while snoozing. This Benign Positional Paroxysmal Vertigo plagued me for a week just a few months ago, but went away on its own.)
It took me one hour to get to the road walk. Then two miles on pavement before turning back in to the woods to cross through the Sisson resort. A dense cluster of cabins with the BMT winding through the back yards. It started pouring hard, a poncho-worthy burst, but it was short lived.
The Indian Creek Shelter is the only shelter on the BMT outside the Smokies, of 2 total, and the only one with a shelter log that I was able to find. This makes it an obligatory stop, and so I had lunch there for the second time. I was able to find the shelter logs for Golden and Oreo. More on that later.
While I was sitting in the shelter eating, a family of deer crossed the creek and wandered through the campsite. Two does and about 6 babies.
The rest of the day was a trudge. Beautiful section, but I am tired. Yesterday my shin (splint?) felt fine and only showed itself on the last mile or two of downhill. Today it started with the first step. Even though the weather cleared up in the afternoon, and the section from the end of Weaver Creek Road to here was very pretty, it was also very painful. The camp site at Falls Branch is nice. Close to civilization & car access, a popular drive-up waterfall site, but have not seen any humans this evening.
While I would love to push to get home by Saturday night and have Sunday off, I think the wiser thing will be to follow the schedule as-is: 14, 14, 11, 8 to Amicalola. The “trail magic” will be if I can hitch a ride from Springer on Saturday afternoon.
Mileage math and other mental gymnastics
Golden: Indian Creek Shelter on 7/16 to Shuckstack on 7/30 (rounding to 20 MIle RS on 7/29) = 141.6 mi / 13 days = 10.89 MPD
Oreo: Indian Creek on 7/13 to CS 63 on 7/25 = 184.1 mi / 13 days = 14.16 MPD
Me: 7/29 – 8/7 = 15.6 MPD // 7/26 – 8/7 = 15.8 MPD over the same stretches. I know, it’s not a contest, just playing with numbers.
On the subject of getting in to town: Golden said it was “so easy” to hitch in to town. They went to the NOC for a resupply & relax (maybe even an overnight) no problem. “Don’t be afraid to stick out your thumb” around here, everybody is very hiker-firendly. Yeah right. Said the attractive 20-something female in running shorts. Try it when you look like an unshaven middle aged hobo.
Penn (Jillete, on his podcast or in his book) related that back in the 70s when he would hitch hike, the best thing to do was to team up one guy wiuth one girl. The guy would help the girl feel safe, and the girl would help the guy get rides. The “young couple” front always made for an easy hitch. It has a certain sex appeal, and the driver does not have to feel like a creep picking up a lone female.