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Where Did All The Darn Rocks Come From

Day 68

Tuesday May 30, 2017

Miles: 687.0 - 702.4    Miles Completed 15.4

Time: 7:27am - 7:10pm

Weather: Hot and wonderful 

To sum up today's terrain I quote Shortcake, "Where did all the darn rocks come from?" That isn't quite what she said. I had to edit one word to keep my blog G-rated. It was a 15.4 mile day and another Shortcake quote, "It felt like 30!"

It was a rocky day but it was absolutely fun. We started with a morning climb up 1500 feet. It was a smooth trail just super steep. Thanks to the switchbacks it was fairly easy. Remember when I use the term easy all is relative. So, easy to me means Appalachian Trail easy. In 2015 it didn't seem so pleasant. As I rounded one switchback I had a flashback to my initial hike. There I saw Walking Man sitting on the side of the trail resting. Just prior to that I thought I was going to die if I took one more step. My raggedness must have shone on my face because he said, here have a seat as he scooted over to make room for me on the rock. As I passed our resting stone I glided my hand over its surface remember the wonderful time I had hiking with him and his son GQ. 

Shortcake and I continued the climb. As we huffed and puffed our way to the top the trail eased as we joined an old road bed. At the junction was a very nice park bench to rest on. I knew it was there but kept it a surprise for Shortcake. Unfortunately it was already occupied by two other weary hikers. We stopped only briefly and continued another half mile to our first highlight for the day, the Audie Murphy monument. 

Audie was the most decorated American Soldier of WWII. He died in a plane crash close to this site. There were two more nice park benches here we relaxed on after dropping our packs. After my snack and hydration break I placed my gratitude stone I have been carrying on the monument for a photo. 

One major climb done. After we left the monument we headed for Dragon's tooth ten miles away. The trail turned ugly or fun depending on how you perceive it. I thought it was fun. Of course I did. I also like uphill so, early mornings and hiking in the rain. But it wasn't long before Shortcake shouted out, "Where did all the darn rocks come from?"  It took us awhile to hike over to the popular monolith rock outcroppings non as Dragon's Tooth. Just before we arrived we hit the 700 mile mark. I created a little more trail art. I wrote it with Mountain Laurel petals, the abundant wild growing flowering bush that have exploded in bloom. 

Once we explored the adult jungle gym created with gigantic stones and boulders we continued our descent. We had 2.5 miles to our destination. The ridge up to Dragon's Tooth was quite rocky but the incline was easy. The descent was a lot more rapid and tricky. I couldn't wait for it. I thought it was fun in 2015 and it was just as exciting this time around except I was a little more concerned for Shortcake. It wasn't hair-raising or death defying but you did need to take your time and concentrate on your footing to prevent a twisted ankle or face-plant. But no worries needed. We both came through unscathed just worn out. Another great day completed on the Appalachian Trail with my good buddy Shortcake came to an end as we limped and hobbled our tired bodies to the hostel.

Happy Hiking. 

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