Sunday, July 29, 2007

Hike: Cable Gap Shelter

5/5/98--Cable Gap Shelter, 156.2 miles

It was our first 15-mile day and we couldn't have had a better day for it. It dawned clear--actually cloudless--and by the end of the day nothing more than a few harmless cumulus clouds had passed overhead. I packed up and said goodbye to Florida Tim (my sheltermate of last night) before 8 and passed a bunch of southbound section hikers breaking camp as I came up and over Cheoah Bald. Staying put at Sassafras Gap was definitely the right call all around. Not only did I avoid some nasty weather, but the tent site I'd been aiming for was pretty well occupied and I got to hear stories of Florida Tim's '91 thru-hike, which got me jazzed again. I want to live stories like that. Trail magic, good times, kooky adventures, characters. It reminded me of all the stuff beyond putting in the miles.

But we did put in the miles, and I feel pretty good. Beat. More tired than after 12, but not in any more pain. Diva Dog, too came in fine--no limping at all, and only a little more lagging behind. Our pattern is that she gets out ahead of me on ascents and waits for me to catch up, then on ridges, switchbacks, and gentle descents I take the lead. On steeper descents we play it by ear. Today there was one spot where she had to go down between two rocks and I realized what a good thing it is that everything in her pack is not only waterproof but trailproof, as I took it off and tossed it about 8 feet down so I could keep my hands free to follow her myself.

Took a 2-hour lunch at Brown Fork Shelter and let all my stuff dry in the sun. My damp synthetic bag did keep me warm last night, not not happy. Also appreciated the luxury of a new privy with a view of the mountains and thought--wow, this is where I'm living.

Have an urge to re-read Walden, the Narnia books, and Lolita. Go figure. The Fantastic Four have moved on to Fontana Dam but N. (Pan) reports in the register here that they may split up for awhile. I hope that was an amicable decision. Cheerios is also ahead. Tomorrow I have about 7 miles to the Dam and the visitor center, then the folks from the motel say they'll come pick me up--then 2-3 nights off-trail for my brother's graduation and I should start the Smokies, sans Diva Dog, on Saturday the 9th. Unless something comes up I don't think I'll write til I get back on. Ciao for now. --MC

No comments: