We enjoyed the positive vibes from an evening hike into magical Thrift Cove. The sun was emerging from a blanket of clouds. Earlier in the afternoon, a knowledgeable burrito-eater in Brevard told me that the weather should be breaking with warm and sunny days ahead. That sounded good to me.
We found a great campsite and gathered our water and wood. I enjoyed a meal of sauteed garlic and portabellos atop a bed of sun dried tomatoes, melted mozzarella and refried pintos. It's one of my best camping concoctions yet. I scooped out the delicious stew with organic corn cakes. Uwharrie was more than happy to clean the pot. What a team!
Camp was situated above a wildlife meadow where mullein grew in abundance. I harvested the soft green leaves: they're quite useful for a variety of things. After rinsing the socks out, I went to work on the feet draining a blister and liberally applying vitamin E.
With the age-old nomadic chore of foot care finished, it was time for sleep. I've been too keyed up with this change in lifestyle to get adequate rest so far. Late night shrieks from wild things above the cove were of no assistance, but did help us to forget the sounds of civilization.
The next morning, I munched a sweet potato baked in the fire; it was a tad overdone, but delicious. Also powered up on peanut butter, currents and yogurt covered raisins, I set off with Uwharrie up Black Mountain and Clawhammer.
We plodded thru laurel tunnels and across rocky overlooks to get to the flooded Pink Beds: a forest floor padded with pine needles and grasses beside acre upon acre of ponding water. This place reminded me of a distant trip to Congaree swamp. We ate lunch, soaked feet and had ourselves a superb siesta. While I gazed upward, Juana Molina's whispers seemed to conduct the clouds overhead.
They drifted gracefully into the unknown with the warm breeze, each undergoing an endless transformation. Every wispy shape was full of such beauty. As I watched, I realized I was too preoccupied on the future. I thought: peace is only attainable through harmony with nature. A large cumulus crept in, and the aerial curtain was drawn to close.
It felt good to reach the Mountains-to-Sea Trail, that major artery of hope for long-winded wandering freaks. And it felt like a good workout to get to the Pisgah Inn. Back into late winter, we gazed down over Rich Mountain to our distant start. Soon we crashed out a little ways past Mt. Pisgah and dreamt of pizza in Asheville.
I fell into a deeper love for the MST the next morning. We experienced the Shut-In Ridge in all its sunlit glory. With the early songbirds finished singing, I plugged in some Pink Floyd and we cruised to find the nearest water. It was a long dry pull for us, but we eventually made it to the refreshing Long Branch of Bent Creek. This sunny drainage was filled with the hollow sound of beating wings from a bold ruffled grouse.
Next stop was back down to blooming bloodroots and a bigger, badder French Broad River. We ventured thru a fenced pine furnace, which seemed planted and plain. We crossed the swollen torrent of I-26. With the tyvek shells of future mcmansions to our left and right, I knew we had arrived upon a polyp of the city.
We pushed on thru the Friday afternoon rush hour. A short side trek of a couple miles brought us to la casa de Asa and the promise of a hot shower, a couple pizzas and a growler of Pisgah Porter. We've come about 75 miles in the last four days; the dogs are beat up, it's time for some R&R.