Day 28: Bald near Bearwallow Gap to Hogback Ridge Shelter

Today’s mileage: 18.3
Total mileage: 315.0

We certainly made up for yesterday as we hiked on through the area that was burned. I wasn’t sure exactly where we stopped yesterday when I tallied our mileage, so we actually only did 11.8, not 12.1. May not seem like a big deal, but you know, I’m trying to improve my math skills.

We hiked a cool section of the trail this morning on Firescald Knob. We climbed up and down a lot of rocks and had some sweet views from the exposed ridge line. Just as I was coming down that part of the trail, a guy laying down warned me the area ahead was slick. I fell anyways. Not my worst fall however. I’ve been around the block a few times in that department. The guy who warned me had dislocated his shoulder after falling in the same spot. His friends were there to help him and now I understood why he was sprawled out on the trail. I felt lucky that I didn’t hurt myself.

The hiking in the morning was relatively flat and easy to get through. The afternoon had more ups and downs however. We hiked over Big Butt Mountain today, which was too irresistible for everyone to start singing “Baby Got Back.” We made up our own lyrics for Big Butt. Feel free to sing along at home.

I hiked Big Butt and I cannot lie
You other hikers can’t deny

And that’s all we came up with. We’re still working on the rest.

We hadn’t hiked a long day in almost a week and with a zero day in there, our legs needed reminding that 10 mile days aren’t the norm anymore. It seemed like the shelter would never show up. I wondered if Hogback Ridge Shelter fell in line with Hogwarts and Hogsmeade; only witches and wizards could see it (see Harry Potter series for reference). I made a declaration that if it wasn’t over the next ridge, I would javelin my hiking pole ahead on the trail in protest. The shelter was not over said ridge, so my hiking pole was meekly thrown ahead. I didn’t get much distance on that one. I was a sprinter not a javelin expert in high school mind you. Miles started laughing randomly, not so much at me but I think he was going a little crazy at this point in the day. He’s okay now. Once we got some food in him, the laughing ceased.

The grass is sprouting and small wildflowers are blooming along the trail. It looks like spring is finally here. It’s really cool to see the trail transforming everyday.

As some of you have warned us already, and for which we are grateful for, there has been an outbreak of a stomach virus in the section we are currently hiking in. The Forest Service has even issued a warning. Unfortunately, we will be staying near two shelters listed on the warning, but we will not be staying in the shelters nor will we be using any privies, at least until we cross over the NC/TN border. We are also going to be more diligent with using our hand sanitizer. We are even tenting in the rain tonight instead of sleeping in the shelter. We are hoping to stay away from the sickness and we appreciate the concern we have received from a few of you. The last thing we want to do is deal with a stomach flu out here.

It’s raining steadily and some lightning and thunder have passed through. I’m hoping that’s the end of it, but I imagine that it’s not. At least it didn’t rain while we were hiking today. Maybe camping out in a thunderstorm will help me get over my fears. Guess it’s time to start some exposure therapy out here!

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2 thoughts on “Day 28: Bald near Bearwallow Gap to Hogback Ridge Shelter

  1. Julie says:

    I’m so glad you did not get hurt when you fell. That poor other guy.

    This day reminds me of something I read one time.

    “There are two kinds of climbers, those who climb because their heart sings when they’re in the mountains, and all the rest.” — Alex Lowe

    I am really enjoying your blogs and hearing about the trials and tribulations of the trail!
    Keep singing!

  2. Charlotte Kolesar says:

    I’m following a couple of you this hiking season…the guy with the dislocated shoulder is one of the hiking companions of another Appalachian Trials blogger–“Hotdog.” Also responisble for the “Big Buts,” etc. I love following you guys! Keep enjoying!
    ~Charlotte

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