Waking up after 12 hours of sleep I felt refeshed,alive, returned to my natural self. I didn’t realize how tired I was from Trail Days till that moment. It’s that moment when you first wake up and you feel 100 percent immediately, there is no sleeping in, you are just ready for the day. I called out to the others, waking them up, Big Brown rustled in his tent, responding and getting out. Packing up we both headed out, to do 20 miles into Erwin, mostly downhill after Big Bald.
It’s funny every other place out here is either Big Bald, Deep Gap, Sassafras something, or Uniquoi whatever. It’s as if each state needed one of each for the AT. The climb up the mountain went quick with good conversation and good friendship. Big Brown and I actually haven’t hiked together before, this was a nice change of pace for the both of us. The two of us heading out meant the other two could get some alone time for a change, they could also leave and do whatever they wanted too. The rain from the night before had soaked the ground and grass, the two of those made a deadly combination for me. My shoes and socks were drenched by the time we reached the steep incline up the bald.
The thick fog awarded our climb with no views, even the steady wind played a role in making the bald undesirable for a place to rest. Without stopping we summitted and moved off the barren bald to the shelter a mile away. Coming down the mud covered roots and rocks made it a challenge to navigate the trail in my treadless boots. I was desperately in need of new boots but that would have to wait till I had service to call EMS for a return. The slick turf and smooth soles of my boots gave way to slides and slips all the way to the shelter. I took comfort in knowing I wasn’t the only one, even my 3 foot slid was small compared to someone else who had slid before me. His track mark close to 5 feet was impressive since there was no splat mark from his body.
Coming into the shelter we found Theseus hanging out, refueling, changing my wet socks we all went on our way down the mountain side. Lsot in conversation made the trek fun and helped time to fly by for Big Brown and I. We decided to focus on photography earlier in the day, making our pace slow and steady. Theseus ended up passing us while we shot a few pictures in a great section of the trail. We wouldn’t see him again for about an hour, yet thee he was perched on a rock, almost posing in the half shade half sun on a sheer cliffside reading. Taking the opportunity of the picturesque colors and pose I snapped a quick picture before we headed out again.
Coming down and then back up the trail we found ourselves at High Rock, with the intention of 20 miles, we skipped the view for a change and headed to a small rocky outcropping for a break and to change my socks again. Again they had soaked through and needed to be changed. This time I wasn’t having any part of it and threw on my waterproof socks from Sealskinz, many thanks to the kind gentleman at Trail days for letting me try these out. For the first time all day my feet were dry and stayed dry. Playing around with a few shots at the outropping we made our way towards Spivey Gap.
Finally some cell service, I immediately called ems to warranty out my boots. Guess what, yup not under warrenty, the company policy had changed just a few days ago and my shoes and clothes were out of luck. What a crock of shit, they used to have a great return policy and now it’s total junk. With the recent changes over the years it is becoming quite obvious that the company isn’t doing well. This was the nail in the coffin for me, I will be REI for life now, hell even the grocery store has a better return policy on things then EMS does. This large disappointment bothered me all the way to the gap.
Reaching Spivey at 4 or so we sat down and ate, cooking some hot food for our hungry bellies. Mashed potatoes for the both of us couldn’t haven’t been a better solution. Eating, relaxing, we joked that if we were offered a hitch it wasn’t the same as asking for one. We’d tell the others we hiked through the night and have a glorious dinner in town. Soon Theseus joined us and he was in too, hoping to get out before the others caught up. Our hopes of getting out diminished when we heard the familiar sound of thier voices on the other side of the hill. What can I say my friends knew me better then themselves, just as they saw us they asked if we were waiting for ride. I asked them how they knew and they replied with because we were thinking the same thing. Calling a shuttle we all headed into town for all you can eat KFC for dinner. During our feast we discussed our options and as fate always plays a better card we were swooped up by the beloved trail angel, Miss Janet.