Hawk Mt shelter(8.1)-Woody Gap(20.8)
Today was my perfect spring day. I awoke this morning to clear skies and the sun peaking above the mountains. It was absolutely perfect, although my picture is very crappy
The day started with a steep decent of 560 feet spread over .40 mile. Then a very rapid ascent. My legs held up surprising well. I was blowing past the hikers that left an hour before me. I was very pleased with myself. So far I haven't had any issues with blisters, which is very rare. I think it's the combination of my new Brooks Cascadia 10 trail runners, darn tough socks, and Iniji toe socks.
As I summited Sassafras I decided it was time to cook a proper breakfast. I cooked oatmeal and coffee and as I looked out at the Appalachian Mountains, it dawned on me how truly blessed I am to have the opportunity to do this trek.
As I descended into Cooper Gap I heard several hikers call out, "You just missed trail magic". I wasn't even disappointed. I had trail magic of my own, looking out at the mountains as I had a hot meal and my morning coffee.
I've been trying to keep my daily mileage low for the first few days. I don't want to push things too hard too fast. Today did not work out the way I had planned. I arrived at my planned destination, Gooch Gap shelter at 2:00. I knew I couldn't just sit around all day, so I had a quick lunch and pushed on. At 3:00 I hit Gooch Gap and I saw a few people I had met yesterday, camped out there. They invited me to stay, but I was in the zone so I pushed on. As I crossed the gap I saw some amazing wood works. They really made me smile to see something so beautifully hand crafted out in the middle of nowhere.
At this point I was beginning to doubt my decision to push on. I was at 9 miles for the day, and had a big climb to get over Ramrock Mt. The next decent stopping point was still almost 4 miles away and it was getting late. I had no choice but to push on. As I was climbing Ramrock Mt I met Photo Guy and Eric. I would stick with them for the rest of the climb, but quickly outpace them on the downhill portion(I'm kind of a beast on the downhill). I arrived at Woody Gap a little after 6:00, breaking my rule if stopping by 5 every night for the first week. Oh well, rules are made to be broken. I meet a few other cool thru-hikers at the gap, Katie and Adam?, Kellen, Chuck, and a guy I'm calling Austin, because that's where he is from and I can't remember his real name. Eventually Photo Guy and Eric showed up as well. Once again it's late and I've had a long day.
I'll leave you with this shot of me on Ramrock Mt.
Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity
John Muir, Our National Parks