Trey Mountain Shelter, April 12
Signing in to the shelter register the morning after my stay, and reading about the hikers ahead on trail. Already, it was sunny and in the upper 60s!
The day before had been another overcast day (no rain!), with the cold humid damp that penetrates everything. Day temps were in the low 50s, night temps had not dipped below freezing since Hawk Mt. Shelter. After Fox and I arrived, several other hikers made it in.
One thru-hiker was an extremely obese fellow out trying to use the A.T. as a life-changing event. As were we all. He was carrying a LOT of extra gear, including a 4 lb bible.
While hiking, it is nearly impossible to avoid gauging or judging other hikers. Not unlike office or classroom politics with any collection of people, we evaluate each other. Fox and I were both really concerned that someone clearly so out-of-shape would be on trail and exerting themselves. We were worried about a collapse -- or worse -- and how we'd get him down off the trail to a road crossing for help.
The next morning, as if reading our minds, he declared he had had enough and was going 'off trail' for a spell. While I should have been fully supportive of that decision, I was surprised to find myself asking him if he would rather just do 3 or 5 mile days and not push it for a week or two until he started getting stronger. I even offered to help him cull his pack. The trail shelters and the trail itself had been stocked for the past 50 miles with off-cast gear. Hikers making the same pack trimming choices we did in Gooch Gap, and would for the next 300 miles.
Later, I'd realize that I had made that bond with the trail where I didn't want to see any 'trail family' give up. This large man *could* do it -- only the mind and the body work against the hiker at times.
Photo note: the shelter isn't curved or warped -- this shows how, um, 'inexpensive' my lightweight camera was.
J:Another tough eight miles. No rain! Came down off Blue Mt - long tough descent, hard on knees. going up Rocky Mt was tough, and down into Indian Grave Gap (no H2O). First day I hiked using the radio, listening to oldies, classic rock or country. A lot of brooding over the last decade, and what the next few may hold.