Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Hike: Tray Mountain Shelter

4/25/98--Tray Mountain Shelter

Glad, glad, glad to be back in the woods, but not in the least bit happy about my packweight after collecting my drop. Today, I was carrying 10 days of my food and 2 days of Diva Dog's--up til now I've never had more than 5 days and the difference is huge. It was also sunny and warm for the first time and that also made the hiking harder--drinking more water, carrying more water, stopping more often, moving more slowly when I was moving, and (my first Saturday on the Trail) having to make way for day hikers all the time. There was a huge crowd of people wearing cotton, carrying no food or water, and every single one of them had to comment on Diva Dog's booties. I can tell already I'm going to hate weekends. On the other hand, there's a big, friendly crowd of overnighters tenting around the shelter who seem to really know what they're about, and there's something kind of cool about getting to be the "permanent" residents and tell stories for the tourists.

We got a ride back to Unicoi in the back of a bright red pickup truck from a super-friendly couple--Diva Dog really got into it, kept standing up and poking her head over the edge, then sitting back down as we took the curves. We reached the parking lot just as the Fantastic Four were coming in, so it really felt like coming home. They'll pull ahead of me next--I'm going to stick to 10-ish mile days to try to keep Diva Dog's paws from hurting too badly, but the Four have a drop to pick up in Franklin on Wednesday, so I guess we'll be able to leapfrog for a little while.

And I have to figure out how to work my drops so I'm not carrying this much food again. I'd much rather stop more often and hike more easily in between.

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