The First Day
With a rain storm on predicted for the afternoon, Ric and I were up and in the lodge restaurant for breakfast when it opened. He drove me once again to parking lot just below Springer. With two shuttles of hikers getting out, including Sir Packs-a-Lot, I knew I wouldn’t be alone long.
Ric took a couple of pics, and I was down the trail. The plan was to hike to Hawk Mt. Shelter – 7 miles from the lot. When I was sure I far less than two miles down the trail, Sir P and his gang caught up to me after going the opposite direction to summit Springer. I hiked with them the rest of the day. It was just a bit faster than I would have hiked alone, but it worked out, as it started raining before my tent was completely set up. To my surprise, everyone immediately dove into their tents and I was left alone to cook some dinner under my tarp. After managing to get my food hung – probably too low – I also retreated to my hammock. I think I might be warm if I kept my arms under my quilt, but I’m typing.
Sir P took us to a lovely waterfall a bit off the trail for lunch. Overall, there was more water on today’s hike than on the Approach trail. Went through some lovely rhododendron thickets, one wonderful mt. laurel stand, and a truly impressive stand of hemlocks the size of large pine trees. The Hemlocks will eventually succumb to the woolly agilid. Sorry for the spelling of that!
The hiking is much easier than the whites, but getting used to a full pack means that short days are a good idea for a few days.