Saturday, July 16, 2016

Day 16 - Carter Creek Trail

Hot damn today was a lotta up. All told 14+miles and a couple of thousand feet, or more. Unfortunately I didn't get started hiking till just before 9am which makes it harder for  me to make miles. The wonderful part of starting late was getting to meet Piper's Mom who picked me up at the hotel and delivered me to the trailhead. This marvelous human being maintains a cache of goodies where the trail crosses the road. Including fruit, sodas, water, a trail book to sign and other boxes where people can donate gear or food. I myself left that brand new hat and some salty snacks to the pile. Plus she picks up and delivers folks to town and back. What a gem. 
There are a lot of amazing people out here in the wide world. 

My knees and right foot were giving me fits this morning. I guess, even though I walked all over town yesterday, not carrying a pack for a day made me stiff and sore. 

I stopped for elevensies at a creek and met a young couple just packing it up for the day. They are out for two weeks then have to return to regular life. He is a PhD student at Gallaudet University in DC studying Linguistics. This is the premiere college for Deaf and hard of hearing students in the country. We knew some folks in common, which seems really wild to me. We live in a very small world indeed. 

I've kind of stopped talking about thru hikers, mostly because there are so many now. But this morning I was struck by two that I'll describe. The first guy is from England, Chester England in fact. He said he just had to go into the town named after his own. But he looked bedraggled, skinny and just worn out. He said he needed some inserts for his shoes, but it looked to me like his shoes needed replacing. I told him about the free camping in town and where he could get a shower and wash his clothes. He brightened up at that. I just wonder how short of a thread some of these folks are hanging by. I felt for him. Poor guy is far from home. 

Hiker number two was also skinny and tired looking but he was full of stories of deer stealing his clothes and gear in order to get to the salt from his sweat. His shirt was hanging off his pack and I could see the deer had chewed big holes in it and slobbered it muddy and wet. I told him about the thrift stores in town. He's gonna need a new shirt!

These are just the first of probably 30 or more nobo's I encountered today. Some stopped to chat, exchanging info about what each of us could encounter ahead. Others just hello'ed and walked on by. But all those folks hit a milestone today. The midway mile on the trail. 
There were three celebrating hikers there when I arrived. They're been at the wine and whiskey and were feeling no pain. I'm pretty sure they weren't going to make their miles today. 

I thought tonight I'd be camping alone as I pulled off the PCT and part way down a side trail so I could pick up water for tonight and tomorrow. I had gotten my water and was eating dinner when two hikers came in. Now four more have arrived-I think there will be more. Hopefully they will be asleep by hiker midnight (9pm). My alarm will be going off at 5am. 

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