I had to go into town to resupply, catching an early morning hitch into town I stopped at the post office and dairy queen. Filling my bladder form there soda machine I caught another hitch back to the campsite. So far the morning was going to plan, I had gotten in and out of town relatively quickly. Pushing up the mountain I paused at the first blue blaze, thinking whether or not to go to the shelter for water or anything. I decided against it I had just filled up in town or so I thought.
A mile or two later I realized I only had seltzer water, not water, there water dispenser must have been broken and I would have to do the next ten miles with no water but this. What a catastrophic mistake on my part, I hoped the trail wouldn’t be too harsh on the ridge line today. Pushing and breathing heavy I had no recourse but to drink the water, the heat and terrain gave me no alternative. Forcing the seltzer water down I spent the next ten miles burping up a storm. This by far would be the least cramps oart of the day for me.
I would then pass Mr. Doyle again that day on the ridge line. We stopped and chatted and I remarked at how late he was for getting out on the trail. He replied with Oh Captain my Captain, well played Warren. I am looking forward to these visits a bit now, and I’m growing a bit accomstumed to seeing him on the trail. If only my friends were with me, they would be eating this up right now. They love him and could ask him questions for days. Pushing past I hoped for refuge at the next shelter. My dehydration was starting to take ahold of me, I could feel my thrust building, my sweat stopping, feeling cool and clammy as I approached the last downhill before the shelter.
Dropping my stuff on the picnic table of the shelter I grabbed my bottle and headed down the blue blaze. Stumbling, looking more drunk than tired, I tried to stay on the trail, I was severely dehydrated and couldn’t see straight. Making my way through the thick rhododendrons I navigated the maze of vegetation to the spring. Here I found a pool of water deep among the rocks. Wavering, swaying a bit I looked into the pond. I would then have a conversation with an imaginary person next to me, Leo Knox from The Finder.
Looking at him I asked about the risks of my next action, drinking straiht from the pool. He informed me that my filter was back up the hill and I could go get it. I replied too far I won’t come back down. He then suggested taking it up and filtering it up there, I replied won’t come back down for more. I told him I wanted Theo just drink it here, he replied that I could get giardia, norovirus, or many other things, or it could be safe. I replied with I have had the shits already and it want that bad, coining the main characters phrase I said aloud, “I’m a risk it,” plunging my bottle into the water, filling it to the brim. The ice cold water creating instant condensation on my bottle disappeared down my throught and down my chest. I was so thirsty I drank two liters in an instant.
Sitting there for a moment I looked around and found no one else, and thought I must have been crazy, I may have just hallucinated a bit. Making my way back with a third liter I sat there for a moment relaxing when I heard the sounds of an approaching hiker coming down the trail. I wondered for a monet who it could be and then to my amazement it was Goodfoot, how the hell did I get in front of him I thought. He wondered the same thing when he said, dude what the hell, how did you get in front of me again? Laughing I told him I wasn’t sure and showed him where the water was. He too was thirsty and had an interesting expierence at the last water source.
He went on to tell me that at the last shelter he had climbed down into the ravine to get water and came face to face with a big black bear. The tow of them stood for a moment looking at each other before the bear snorted and growled at him. With just his water bottle and his cup in had he was frozen for a moment. Startled and not wanting any part of the bear he went to take a step back and fell. Oh shit I thought dude that had to be unnerving. In his fall he dropped his metal cup and in clanged it’s way down to the feet of the bear. Oh how the odds can change, the bear startled and terrified of this loud clanging pot of death and despair, took off up the ravine in a hurry. I couldn’t help but laugh a bit, thank god you nearly crapped yourself, fell down and dropped your cup that bounced off all the rocks on the way to the spring.
He would never go to a water source again without his knife and poles. I learned from his situation as we planned our end of the day. Over the mountain to the road was our goal, waterfalls would be tomorrow. Leaving the shelter he was on his turf on the uphills, I wouldn’t see him till it was time to buy him a burger. The long switchbacks knocked me down, breaking my stamina apart. The green tunnel was getting me that afternoon. Who ever maintained the trail didn’t know what they were doing. Next thing I know I found myself on a ridge with no trail markers and no clue where to go. It was so frustrating trying to play twister among the rocks, avoiding broken ankles and poles, not knowing if you were heading in the right direction. My frustration would continue for the mile or two long stretch of rocks and no views.
Praying to get off the mountain I, walked and walked, my ankles were weak from the rocks and my stamina was shot. I was done for the day and no I just wanted off. The incessant sound of a dog barking in the distance added to it. Just when I thought I was going downhill I headed back up to another ridge with more rocks, I was over this day and trail, all I could think about was a burger now. The trail would end and finally snake it’s way down the mountain, still with little to no blazes. It would seem like the longest day as I slid down the mud soaked trail to the road. Looking a try map I found I had at half of a mile to go before I reached the store. There I would find the two sisters, their mother and dog, Goodfoot and burgers. Setting up our tents we relaxed and chatted. Showers and laundry, which were desperately needed would happen for us too. Probably the best 12 dollars I’ve spent on the trail in a while.