Friday, April 6, 2012

Day 2: March 29, 2012

Stopping for breakfast at Pass Mountain Shelter
Woke rather early in the morning along with the other hikers. I slept for 10 hours but it was intermittent due to one of them sawing logs like he was a lumberjack and Kris stoked to fire all night long. I guess he was restless. I was so tired I did not care about the mice, snakes and bears or the hard concrete floor for that matter. My body just shut down for the night. The only comfort came from the fire beside us all night.

We simply packed and left. No breakfast or coffee because we had no water. So we hit the trail in hopes of finding a spring but that turned up nearly dry so we headed on to Pass Mountain Shelter, 4 miles down the trail. It was glorious! I wish we could have made it there on the first night. Nice fire pit right outside of the shelter, a spring a few feet away, and ample trees to hang the hammocks. We took leisure and made breakfast and coffee. We drank straight from the spring. We even made a fire just to rekindle our spirits. Finally we headed out in route to Byrds Nest #3, an easy 4.4 away.

The spring made a great refrigerator
Fully loaded with water this time we descended down to Thornton Gap. At the bottom we swapped our Vibram 5 Fingers (which were a joy to hike in) for our hiking boots as we knew we had and uphill battle and rocky path ahead of us. Now hiking uphill for 3.5 miles may not sound too bad, but when you are crawling along a rocky footpath and gaining 3000 feet of elevation, it takes it's toll. Upon the top we hit Mary's Rock. Breathtaking. We sat there for a good 20 minutes taking pictures and gazing in a admiration at the valley below. We could see the section of skyline drive that we had just departed prior to our journey skyward. It was as if we were in a plane flying over the earth, paused.

Sitting atop Mary's Rock

Not long after Mary's Rock, 1.6 miles, we came to our shelter for the night. Byrds Nest #3. Now in all my planning I had overlooked the Byrds shelters, and only frequent them now due to our change of mileage plans. Last night, at Byrds Nest #4, we had no water and expected the same here so we hiked all afternoon with every container full adding about 9 pounds of water weight. Turns out there is a spring 0.6 miles from here. I'll believe it when I see it but remain hopeful to cook with for breakfast. We had the place to ourselves which was nice. We could sprawl out, turn on some music, and commandeer the whole grounds. I cooked dinner of Quina, rice, chicken, and an Indian red bean dish. It was so well deserved and highly rejoiced especially after skipping dinner the night before. We hung the hammocks and sat by the fire till 10 at which point we settled into our hammocks.

Our camp as seen from the trail.

Our hammocks hung for the night

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