Ups and downs

Mile 526.6–Bush camp [14.9 miles]
Tuesday, April 30

I made it exactly to the end of the bear area last night. I didn’t actually cross the road because there was a ginormous camping area right there. There was a local camper (I think—great big tent) with a campfire, I stayed in there, Freight Train was somewhere in there, and ET (Energizer Turtle) was in there. And… overnight, a bear took Freight Train’s and ET’s food bags. (They were hung together.) I may have heard something, but the creek was loud and there were noises from the road, too. So both those guys were unexpectedly heading into Marion today to resupply and get new bags.

Aside from that, it was a sluggish hot day. Young guys are busting out with 20s and 25s, and it mystifies me. How do they do that? HOW? I couldn’t even get 15, and I started at 6:15, in the dark!

Saw some cows. Moooo.

Tomorrow I’ll get as close to Atkins as I can, so I can buzz in there Thursday morning, grab breakfast, get my boxes, and get out.

Oh! I forgot! A bridge was out. Some hikers used the bridge anyway. Some forded. I decided it wad fordable on the PCT, but for the AT I did the little roadwalk. 😀

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Controlled burn

Mile 541.0—Chatfield Shelter [14.9 miles]
Wednesday, May 1

You know what it was today? HOT. It was only about 80, but that afternoon sun beat down through the leafless trees like fire. Which reminds me: prescribed fire zone all afternoon! There was smoke everywhere, and flames in the distance, and great swathes of char right up to the trail, and many firefighters in hardhats and gear that must have been cooking them alive. Everything stinks like brimstone.

The visitors’ center by Partnership Shelter was… open! I had a couple of Pepsis, charged my phone a bit, and hung with about 20 hikers I didn’t know, and a few that I did—Zippy, Tiny, and ET back from his resupply. Oh, and I reported the bear thing to the visitor center ranger (?), who logged it. I also stuck a note on Guthooks.

I wanted to make sure to get to Atkins tomorrow morning, not tonight. I didn’t want to have to stay in the Relax Inn. I’ve already done the AT trifecta of vomitous dumps (Relax Inn, the Doyle, the Dungeon at LOTC—although thete are probably others, and none of them compares to Hikertown on the PCT); I have no desire to repeat any of them! Of course, the Relax Inn could be different now. But I’ll never forget the always entertaining Blackhawk Bob exclaiming between cigar puffs, “I’ve slept in burned-out buildings in Iraq that were cleaner than that dump!” 😀 Wonder how he’s doing, and if he finished in 2013? I didn’t see him again after I flipped.

Tomorrow: The Barn for breakfast, grab my boxes at Relax Inn (I hope), then back on trail. And I think it opens up after that—just get to Pearisburg as fast as possible. I’m hoping to nero there overnight.

I think I hear Zippy. There are quite a few people here.

I want somebody to do a paper on risk behavior and perception on long-distance trails. It sounds like a lot of hikers used the “DO NOT CROSS” bridge, and the ones who did the roadwalk were sheepish. (I wasn’t sheepish. But I learned on my partial PCT that trail closures happen, and whatever reroutes are necessary for that year are just the trail you got that year.)