Saturday, 12:30 PM: Lily and Uwharrie dropped me off at the MST Woodlawn trailhead. The plan: hike 24 miles to meet them at a campsite along the South Toe above Black Mountain Campground. I carried the latest revision of my MST fastpack gear and traveled comfortably at a preordained 4 mph pace.
The humidity was thicker than the stress I carried with me from the week past. So it was a rapturous moment when the heavens opened up and unleashed a cool, clean and refreshing rain. Rejuvenated and cresting out on Woods, the trail worked its magic and I was soon in the zone.
Lady slippers, laurels and rhododendrons were a few of the more memorable blooms spotted along the trek. I had to constantly watch my footing for the newts all over the trail as well. Along one stretch of section 9, I spooked two yearling bear cubs up a tree. Simply for the celebration of life, it’s hard to beat this time of year in the southern Appalachians.
Lily and Uwharrie found a great campsite and had a fire started as I wandered in to join them by 6:30 PM. We enjoyed a delicious dinner and some G’Knight beside the fire as evening sprinkles added additional moisture to a lush twilight. Soon it was time to bed down and test out the latest revision of the polycryo tube tent.
Come morning, my mind was up before the sun, churning with ideas for further revisions. I decided on the luxury of a morning fire and got to work preparing breakfast. Lily soon awoke and we figured out how we wanted to get back to the car (parked near Ridge Junction).
We were packed up and hiking by 8:30 AM. We climbed to the summit of Mitchell on the MST and entered into a “whole new world” as Lily puts it. The weather on the summit was cloudy and cold, so we made a quick decision to try for the restaurant. Upon our lunchtime arrival, we eagerly sat down to enjoy a warm meal. This will definitely be a must-stop in three weeks. Powered up, we easily made it the rest of the way to the car and back to Marion.
Random MST thoughts during trek:
-Silk not cutting it, will definitely carry the wool to start the trek.
-Condensation a factor in tube tent, but still manageable?
-Lily’s offer to make this a supported effort is tempting
-Go self-supported through the mountains and reconsider…
-Revise BMT/MST wikis to keep them current.
Photos in this post from the Sony-Ericsson camera phone that Lily is letting me use for the MST:
|In between storms|
|"A whole new world"|