Appalachian Trail Mile 360.2

Sunday, May 30, 2017 (Day 27)

It is so quiet. Quieter than usual. Not a howl or a hoot or a rustle. It is nearly midnight. Ah, wait — a plane just flew overhead. One can never completely escape the sounds of a plane. Unless under sea, I suppose. Point is: it is so very quiet and still right now. It is as if a heavy blanket has been laid over all the woods, dampening each potential for sound or movement. Except for me. Each sound I make is amplified, even my breathing is loud against the stillness. I enjoy the quiet. It makes me listen harder.

I am cowboy camping on a side trail. Well, not a trail persay, more like an extended flat space that looks like it was formed by some sort of vehicle. There are stinging nettles to either side of me. I will harvest some for tea one day. The nettles are all over these woods. There is a shelter .4 mile back. I passed many tents and hammocks.

I rose about 6:30 am. I accompanied another hiker on an early morning bike ride to the local gas station about a mile away. It was terrific fun to ride a bicycle in the morning light, surrounded by beautiful mountains. I did not leave Uncle Johnny’s Hostel until around noon or so.  Sometimes I find it challenging to get back in to my hiking rhythm immediately following a town stay.

It was the perfect weather for night hiking. As night began to fall I entered a wooded area that one could easily get lost in. Everything looked like a mirror image of itself. The trees were all similarly spaced, the trail not discernable from the surrounding earth. I was thankful for the frequent white blazes that led my way.

My feet itch. Exposed in the hours I donned my camp sandals, the mosquitos feasted. The wounds stick to my socks when I change them. The sensation makes it hard to sleep.

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