May 2. After spending all day yesterday in town for a zero day we were ready to get back on the trail. Meat needed to do a few more things in town and Flosser was ready to hit the trail. Flosser was going to reduce his mileage and speed to help let his leg heal so from here on Meat and I were going to push ahead and Flosser was going to enjoy the last 90 miles of his hike. Flosser thanked us for letting him tag along and we thanked him for joining us. Hugs all around and he took off. Meat and I left shortly before noon and after a very tough climb up a mountain with the temp in the 80’s we came across Flosser taking a break. We talked for a bit and then he thanked us for letting him tag along and we thanked him for joining us. Hugs all around and we took off. We hiked a few miles on and Meat and I stopped for a break in a shelter to get out of the afternoon heat. Not long after Flosser made his way in and we all sat and talked for a bit. Then Flosser thanked us for letting him tag along and we thanked him for joining us. Hugs all around and we took off. A few miles later Meat and I stopped by a campsite to get water from the creek. Before we packed up and left Flosser came in and filled water as well. Then Flosser thanked us for letting him tag along and we thanked him for joining us. Hugs all around and we took off. This was the last meetup of a long day of goodbye because Flosser ended up stopping for the day and Meat and I pushed on several more miles. We had a big problem with ticks today as Meat and I both found 3 or 4 of them crawling on our legs during the hike. All in all a good day, left town right before lunch and hiked 13.5 miles. We are going to miss Flosser for sure, we had a lot of fun with him the last 600 miles and we won’t be the complete “3 Amigos” until he comes back to hike with us later this summer. Thanks for the fun times Flosser! Thanks for letting him come hike with us Ann!
The 3 Amigos
May 3. Last night was warm! I slept on top of my 15 degree sleeping bag most of the night. I am looking forward to my 45 degree sleeping bag that is being delivered to the next town! The night was pretty quiet, no wind, but Meat and I both thought we heard things moving around outside of our tents. I thought I heard something big crack or crash and then roll down the hill behind us…I laid there wide awake and listened to something I thought was breathing, first close to my tent, then further away. I figured at least it was leaving and fell back asleep. Meat and I woke up around 6:15 and left camp a little after 7 so we could get an early start for a hot day. This was supposed to be the hottest day of the week so we intended to take and afternoon break to get out of the heat. We hiked and put down some really good miles even in the heat and some tough hill climbs. By about 4 PM we had already hiked 18 miles and stopped to take a break at the shelter. There we found some of our hiking friends and spent a few hours talking about the PCT, the Florida Trail, and other trails in California and out west. We waited out a few rain clouds and some sprinkles and around 6:30 Meat and I moved on to camp by a stream about a mile down the trail. It was a 19 mile day in some intense heat and we were pretty happy with it!
May 4. We woke up early today and hit the trail by a little after 7. By 8 we were already completely drenched in sweat…it was going to be another hot day. We hiked up over a hill and through several pastures and farms and then back up another mountain. It was a hot afternoon and we were hiking along a ridge line with large rocks and I stopped to check out a long line of ants marching off somewhere. I followed the line across a few sticks, over the trail, and up a big flat rock. The path of ants lead right up to a dark corner of a rock ledge and then right under something with stripes and scales…our first rattle snake. We weren’t sure at first, but as we got more interested in it the snake shifted a bit and brought out its rattle and gave us the warning. We watched it for awhile along with several other hikers behind us. Soon the snake seemed to get tired of the attention and pictures and it started moving around, that’s when I decided it was probably time to move on. I heard rattle snakes can shoot out and strike at quite a distance and I didn’t want to be there for that. About 5 minutes up the trail we passed an area that smelled like a dead animal and saw a rattle snake dead under a rock beside the trail. Although this one was dead that was two of them in close proximity…Meat kindly offered to let me lead the way, just in case there were more. What a nice guy! We stopped for an hour or 2 to have dinner and rest at a shelter and then with some friends at a campsite by the river and then Meat and I pushed on up the next mountain and made it to the top just before dark, a little after 8 PM. On the way up we spooked several deer and they took off running down the side of the mountain and it sounded like a few nights ago when I heard something rolling down the mountain behind my tent. It was probably deer the other night too, but something else must have been out there to spook them. It was a long day, 21.5 miles, and we were ready to get to bed!
May 5. We woke up a little later, still tired from the tough uphill the night before, but also glad that was out of the way! It was so warm that Meat left his rain fly half way off his tent and I left my tent door open for more airflow. During the night I heard some rain falling on my tent and quickly closed my door. A few seconds later I heard Meat get up quickly and pop out of his tent and pull the fly back over it. Luckily we camped on the top of a ridge and even though it rained on through the night the morning breeze helped dry the gear a bit before we packed it away. We walked on towards the Dragon’s Tooth, a stone monolith, but by the time we got there clouds were pulling in fast and we passed by quickly to get down the mountain before the rain. The trail down was the toughest we’ve had yet and a section of the AT that I really don’t like, especially when it is wet. It was a rock scramble with sections of rock faces that I pretty much had to slide down and try not to fall forward. I did slip and fall back a few times on the slick rocks. The plan we had for the day was to hike some big miles and get to The Home Place for dinner, a very well know all you can eat family style restaurant just off the trail. The rocks had taken us some time to get over and as we sat on a log and ate our lunch in the rain Meat and I quickly changed our plans to hiking an hour more to the 4 Pines Hostel since we could get out of the rain, take a shower, and get a free ride up the road to The Home Place…perfect! We came off the trail and onto the road in the drizzling rain and had to walk 0.3 miles to the hostel. The owner of the hostel passed us in his truck but couldn’t pick us up because it was full and in the short time it took to walk the rest of the way the skies opened and we showed up dripping wet. We took showers and joined the first group of hikers for dinner. The Home Place was happening and very busy being a Saturday evening, and the local Prom night. Our clothes didn’t smell the best but we had at least showered, which I am sure everyone else appreciated. We all enjoyed the 3 meat family style dining…beef, chicken, ham, potatoes, veggies, dessert, tea, lemonade, and more! Easily one of the best meals on the trail for sure! We went back to the hostel, which is really just a 3 bay garage with old couches, cots, and lawn chairs to sleep on. We stopped and picked up some bottles of Corona to celebrate Cinco de Mayo and enjoyed hanging out with a great group of about 15 hikers.
May 6. We woke up in the garage, packed our bags and hit the trail. Before climbing back up into the mountains we had to cross a pasture with cows in it. They were standing right on the trail and they were big! A few of them were big and had horns, which really made Meat nervous. They all chomped grass and eyed us as we passed and I have a great video of Meat freaking out and running through them to get by! We survived and made our way up to McAfees Knob for lunch. It was a little overcast but at least not too hot and Meat and I relaxed for a bit. After a pretty long lunch we moved on. Somewhere in the woods we came to an area with lots of locust. It sounded like summertime in Indiana. We hiked until about 8 PM and got within a few miles of town. The rain started as soon as we got in our tents…but no worries, town tomorrow, a Trail Friday!