July 7, 2016
Bushcamp (mile 1738.6) to bushcamp (mile 1764.6)
Miles: 26.6 (26 PCT miles + .6 miles to Klum Campground and back to the trail)
Total miles walked: 1358.3
We were up and walking by 6 am – Speed time. We walked together for the first 1.7 miles to a water fountain. There was a small hill initially but mostly the trail was flat and the ground soft.
“I’m glad we didn’t do this last night” Speed commented as we huffed and puffed up the trail. We agreed!
We got water, made a few phone calls and continued on. Speed was ahead of us and with our usual start and stop routine, we didn’t see one another until after lunch.
We continued to walk through dry grassy fields and forests. Butterflies danced around us and birds sang. Ah the trail life. It’s quite magical most of the time.
Around 9:45 am we took a 0.3 mile detour to Klum campground. Speed had mentioned several times this morning that he wanted a shower.
When we got to the campground there was one person in the shower, but no sign of Speed.
We had a nice 30 minute shoes off break on a picnic table. Laurie ate her summer sausage (never too early for salty sausage and crackers!) and washed out her socks and underwear. Hot water and soap in the bathroom was a pleasant surprise.
With full bellies and full water bottles we hiked on another 6 miles up a long but gradual hill. We played the alphabet game with categories of countries, companies and sports. Laurie eventually started listening to podcasts as well.
The scenery was pretty but not captivating. The greenery got a little montonous and today was one of the days we needed additional entertainment outside of our own thoughts.
Around 12:30 we found Speed. He was just finishing lunch and we hiked on together. Well initially. No matter how hard we try something always comes up that slows us down and Speed gets away, just as his name suggests.
At the top of the hill we checked for service to check the weather. The sky has more clouds in it today than we have seen in the past week. The forecast predicts rain tomorrow and the following 2 days as well. We have been so lucky with the weather since leaving Belden, hopefully the storm isn’t too bad.
We hiked down the trail, enjoying the soft ground and clear trail. We could tell a trail crew had been through here lately because the wood chips looked fresh and we could smell the freshly cut trunks.
We navigated our way around the 10 or so remaining down trees and made it to the South Brown Mountain Shelter. This is one of the few shelters along the trail. We had toyed with the idea of staying here but it was too early to stop for the day. We took a nice long break, chatted with 2 hikers from Colorado who had just begun their thru hiking adventure.
Around 5 pm we laced up our shoes and walked the remaining 4 miles to camp. We walked together, Speed sharing stories from the AT and keeping us all entertained and distracted from the pain in our feet.
The last 2 miles were on small volcanic rocks. Not the most ideal way to end a 26 mile hiking day.
We got to our campsite location and unsuccessfully spent 10 minutes looking for a different spot that would allow us to be further from the trail.
We ate dinner together and we shared some of our many pre and post dinner snacks. The mosquitoes started to swarm as we were wrapping up so we hurriedly erected the tent and rain fly.
Tomorrow we face the dreaded area with lots of blow downs. We have heard differing reports from southbound hikers and it will be good to see and experience it for ourselves. At least the elevation profile should be gentle.
Tonight we are grateful for cheerful birds and picnic tables.