Scouts and the AT day 1 part 2.

We talked and they decided I would have to hike ahead and secure a shelter, there was no way at the pace we were going we’d ever meet the other scouts at the campsite.  Off I went fell speed ahead with Roland, our pace going from a mere half mile an hour to four miles an hour.  The next quarter mile fell underfoot in minutes as we caught a couple hiking the trail.

Quick conversation and a quick pace, made for fast friends as we talked hiking and biking all the way to the next shelter.  The terrain was flat and free of rocks and leaves, that was until we hit a set of hand made steps.  In the middle of nowhere along a steep trail, someone had moved these slabs of rocks and stones to fashioned a beautiful set of steps.  They looked magnificent out here, out of breath and tired from our sprint all four of us arrived.

This magnificent cabin known as Quarry Gap Shelter was a sight to behold, alive with hikers resting and chatting.  The four of us were quickly welcomed, Denise and Rob, myself and Roland felt at home for a moment. We all chatted a bit before exchanging info before they headed on.  I waited here and called back to relay they information to the rest of the group.  Shelter was found and it was beautiful.  About 20 minutes later the rest of the group came trickling out of the woods, faces lit up with joy as they saw the splendor for themselves.  Each face gaining color and life as the atmosphere filled their hearts and minds.

Lunch was to be had, we quickly saw a problem arise as the scouts pulled out what they had.  The main group took all the food, all these guys had were snacks and breakfast.  There were two options either I hiked ahead and brought some back or we found enough in our packs for everyone.  I reached in and pulled out all I had stashed away.  I wasn’t planning on eating with them so I had plenty to feed me, but would it make up for the others?  I dumped out my drybags, food pouring out, spilling on the table.  It seemed to pour forever as they fell out, one of the other adults did the same.  We did have enough food for them, but there would be more if some of us left.

Vote taken and water refilled four of us decided to hike on leaving the numbers less to feed.  Two of the parents had a child in the fast group and wanted to press on to see them, Andrew an older scout wanted to be with his friends and I wanted the challenge of the hike.  Each of us with our own personal reasons for leaving, set out and this time there were no breaks, no stops, Roland would set the pace and we would try to keep up with him.

We hiked along the steep rocky inclines the short gradual slopes at a steady pace. Andrew, Bill, Mr. Brown, and I kept at it, only stopping for a minute here or there for water and to rest our weary bodies.  Every time we came across another group of hikers, we asked about the rest of the troop.  Always came, the same answer though, “They are just a mile or two up the trail.”  Over the next five miles, that was the longest mile or two I’d ever hiked.

All the while, I kept an eye on the sky for the weather. The sky was so blue, a rich, deep, brilliant blue.  It had been a long time since I had seen a sky so blue before.  I said to Andrew, “Look at that sky, you wont see a sky that blue for decades.”  As I’m writing this, I’m looking up the colors of blue and the one that best describes the hue is ironically blue.  The air so crisp, clean and invigorating casted the most brilliant of colors this afternoon.  Even the rain in the distance wasn’t the normal grey/blue it was a deep sapphire blue.

We hiked on up and down the rocky slopes till we came to a cabin at the bottom of the hill.  One more hill, just one more and we are home warm with food and water.  We ascended tired, worn out, foot after foot up the steep incline.  As we reached the top we called out to the troop and heard nothing in return.  We could hear voices so we knew we were close, on we hiked down the trail.  Soon the images of fire and smoke filtered through the trees and we could see our friends and family.

Arriving tired, out of water, hungry, we were welcomed with smiles and laughter.  The scouts hadn’t found a water source yet but none the less food was to be had.  We set up camp, caught up and got warm.  The scouts later came back with plenty of water for dinner so we ate our fill and drank to recuperate.  sleep would come quickly for us that night.  Everyone was tired and worn out, Roland had done 11 miles with ease, he had made it look so light and uneventful mile after mile.  He was fast asleep in the tent after dinner and I couldn’t have been more proud of him that day.

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