Wow, today was difficult and amazingly beautiful. It was really cold when I woke up, around 25 degrees with high winds. I packed up most of my camp from inside my sleeping bag. I ate a pop tart and forced myself out of my sleeping bag. I finished breaking camp and hit the trail at 8. I had a very steep uphill climb and right away I had to stop and take clothes off. After I finished climbing straight uphill I was greeted with my first great view. It was so pretty I stopped and cooked oatmeal and coffee.
The State of North Carolina is doing an aerial photography project, so the area was cleared and an X marked the spot. I dropped a tracking point with my personal locator beacon to see what google earth shows.
The next few hours of hiking were very difficult. It seems like all I did was hike straight uphill then immediately go straight downhill. My legs were very sore from such a long day yesterday. I met up with the packingitout guys and ate a quick snack. I had a very long steep climb uphill and met a day hiker that told me there was trail magic ahead. That was all the motivation I needed to kick it into high gear. I reached the gap an hour later and was greeted by double trail magic. One guy was grilling chicken and had potato and macaroni salad. Another couple had hotdogs, soda, and ice cream. I ate it all. Thanks Andy, Katerine, and Ominousis.
The next portion of the day was a mountain called, Max Patch. It was probably my favorite part of the trail to date. Max Patch is a bald. A mountain devoid of trees. I took about 50 pictures. I'll only post a few though.
The next 6 miles of the day were pure agony. I was really tired and my left foot has been really hurting me. Hopefully a nice relaxing day in Hot Springs, NC will fix me right up. I should get there early tomorrow afternoon.
The temperature for tonight is forcast for the mid 20's, so I'm sleeping in a shelter. I hope it works out like last time and I get a good nights sleep.
"We are all inventors, each sailing out on a voyage of discovery, guided each by a private chart, of which there is no duplicate. The world is all gates, all opportunities." -Ralph Waldo Emerson