The Blueberry Patch, April 13
That is Fox looking up the highway.
One week on Trail. Seven days. Hiking from Tray Mtn. Shelter was again rough on the feet. Although I was eating into my supplies as fast as I could, and my appetite was beginning to kick in, the pack still weighed alot. It was time to get off my feet and relax for an evening. Only, it meant a roadwalk.
The Blueberry Patch is a hiker hostel on US 76. I had to hike to Dicks Creek Gap, then walk down several miles of highway to reach the hostel in the valley. By the time I reached the road, every step hurt. Walking on the asphalt only made it worse. This was the one time on trail I was on the verge of crying from the foot pain. Would it be enough to get off Trail for a while and get the feet healed? A last-minute hitch saved my tears.
J: Early morning at the BlueBerry Patch, 7:50 a.m. A rough hike yesterday as we came off Tray Mt. and up over Kelly. The worst was the neverending descent from Powell to Dicks Creek Gap - 3 miles, my ass. Rhod thickets and mud slides as it rained ALL day long. Two trucks from Vermont with hiker couples saved Fox and me from certain death -- or at least certain pain the three miles to Lennie and Gary's place. Espy and 'Mike', along with Ranger Smith and Front Seat all bunked. Wrote Jeff, MD and Boots last night. Today, the NC state line beckons.
This little farm is about two acres of heaven. Blueberry farm, with asparagus and strawberry and all manner of veggies. Got to know my hiker family a bit: the Fox is Jerry from Michigan. Mike is a park ranger from Yellowstone. Espy (means 'hope') is a lady from Maine, following in a friend's footsteps. Front Seat is a kid out of high school from High Point, NC on a self-discovery trek. Ranger Smith is an ex-ranger from S.E. NC. He's had pack trouble for most of the way. Finally, a new frame made its way to him here.
The stories and the jokes, the shared and singular pain, has all made this trip worthwhile so far.