We left the shelter about 9 just as the fog was lifting. Walked with OWL until almost lunchtime. I always like hiking with somebody, and hiking with someone who knows me from home is pretty much the best. Stopped to get water and discovered that my Steripen battery was dead (and because of poor planning on my part, I didn’t have an extra). The guys from “The Thru Project” were camped there and gave me some sweetwater drops to treat the water. As a bonus they showed us a video they took last night of a bear! The bear was up in a tree about 30 yards from the water source, and dropped out of the tree so fast!
Took a lunch break with GrandBob, the 2 section hikers from last night, and OWL. Then found out I had cell service, so called AWE and talked with her for an hour or so. I miss her so much, and we don’t get to talk every day, so when I have the chance I try to take advantage of it.
From there it was a pretty easy walk to the shelter. At first it was just the guys from lunch, plus KFox and a dude named Animal. Then people started pouring in; Big Yankee, Mallet, Twig, Rooster, the Virginia Creepers…there must have been 30 people tenting around the shelter. We also found out there is a Dairy Queen in Bland, so we’re going to try to hitch in tomorrow. (We are VERY BAD at hitchhiking so it may not work out).
GrandBob is going into town tomorrow to see a doctor so he split up his remaining food among me, OWL, and Animal. I got a snickers bar and a mountain house meal. Thanks, GrandBob!
I had heard of Animal before – he thru hiked last year (or maybe the year before) and carries all his stuff in a 5 gallon bucket. He is a forager as well, and brought us some wintergreen berries (they taste like wintergreen!) and pine tips. Pretty good! I would definitely take a foraging class from him if he ever decides to teach one.