Day 12 – March 30, 2017
Everyday on the trail is a full day – it has so much in it that it seems to fly by, yet drag on forever. Scenery, people, weather… everything changes so quickly.
This morning started at 7am in Franklin, NC. Three of my friends and I did 16 miles the day before to make it to town for the night. With much excitement, we found out the day before that the First Baptist Church in Franklin picks up hikers from hotels and brings them to an all-you-can-eat, FREE pancake breakfast. Their hospitality was unparalleled (I may be bias though, because I love breakfast and I love churches). They even had letters you could write and send to family/friends. Breakfast lasted one beautiful, godly hour, then Munch, Pipen, Oakley and I headed back to the hotel for some rest and to prep for errands in town.
Thankfully, with the magic of hiker boxes, we were able to escape the grocery store and find enough unwanted hiker food to get us to the next stop (Hiker boxes are at Inns, Outfitters, Hostels, etc. for hikers to leave unwanted items for someone else to pick up when a new owner sees something that they want).
Munch, Oakley, and I hopped on the 11am shuttle to the trailhead, and we sadly left Pipen in town (He was waiting a few more hours for a new, larger hammock tarp to be delivered).
After arriving at the tralhead, it was time for a snack and some blister care (Luckily, I have zero so far). While there, an old couple in a minivan pulled up to hand out trail magic. The man had water, fresh fruit, and a few snacks. I had met the same gentleman before on Day 4 at Hogpen Gap. They are from Iowa, go to Alabama for the winter, then hand out trail magic for 3 weeks on their way back up north. What a man!!
So, on to the trail we went. We stuck together for the first 2 miles, then went our own ways at different paces. Today was my first long, almost solo day! We are out of the “hiker bubble” now, so it’s not as packed every day on the trail (Wahoo!). I enjoyed the sounds of nature, my thoughts, and listening to music on the trail for the first time (Special shout out to my boyfriend, Kyle, for making me a 200 song playlist).
When I got to camp, it was the usual: realize the shelter is full, find a slightly sloped site that I settle for, set-up camp at my own pace, and just sit for a little. Soon enough, Munch and Oakley arrived. They did the same, and we kicked back and had a fun dinnertime (Pipen never made it to the same shelter/campsite). Oakley made the latest and greatest of the trailer garment: the Ram-Bomb. It is Ramen with half of an Instant Mashed Potatoes, and then some of Munch’s butter for good measure. Yum yum.
Then, next in the camp routine – hang the bear bags. Munch had already thrown his rope, so we were all going to hop on. Semi-confidently, he told us he hung it on a tree that looked “kinda dead.” … it was really dead.
Regardless, in the dark, we proceeded to attach our three bags and hoist it up. Oakley chose to do it PCT method, and to hoist it all by himself. Munch and I stood back as we anxiously, but still semi-confidently.
The tree branch came plummeting to the Earth as Oakley dramatically fell out from the branches’ path and tumbled into the trail behind him. Munch and I also fell to the ground – out of laughter. After composing ourselves, we went on the hunt for a new branch and had success. Now I’m in my tent as a storm rolls in… and just like that, the day is over.