Appalachian Trail Mile 676.9

Monday, June 19, 2017 (Day 47)

I opened my eyes at 5, and again at 6. I rose to a 90 degree angle at 7 am. The rain is still visiting from above. Little droplets shyly say hello to the earth and the plants and my face. The nice tree I slept beneath in tandem with my tent-blanket served their purpose nicely.

Not long in to my hike I stopped at a viewpoint. The clouds looked heavy in the distance. A section hiker from Atlanta and his adorable dog joined me on the rocks. I was fussing with my charging bank. He offered me a new cord which proved a miraculous solution. I greatly dislike negative distractions of the technological sort.

We hiked on together for a spell. We spoke of psychedelics and elves and azaleas. We came to a shelter and gathered water and took a break. He headed on. I stayed a bit longer and sewed up a hole in my pack that threatened growth. The rain came. It was heavy. I took cover in the shelter. The minutes grouped in to hours. The sky lightened and I left at 4 pm.

My socks soaked in moisture from the damp foliage that lined the trail. I passed the next shelter and took a quick break at a campsite just under 2 miles further.

I continued on as the sun was setting. I came to a sudden stop as I realized that I was just short of entanglement with a large spider web. I stared at the architect. I was fascinated. It was positively gigantic and fantastically green. A giant radiant jewel. Sensing my attention, it hurried up its web. It’s body so heavy, that every now and again it heaved backward under its own weight.

The woods are so foreign and dream-like at night.

I stepped over a railing to cross a road and continue on the trail which led through pastures. I noticed a miniature apple on the ground. I glanced up at what was a crab apple tree. I used a trekking pole to prod the limbs above, beckoning for the tiny fruit to fall within my reach. I sat and sipped water and ate three of the little apples.  They were not quite ripe, but sweet enough and delightfully crisp.

As I continued, little hopping rodents fleeted about frantically on the trail. One of them hopped right in to my shin with a surprising amount of force.  I laughed.

This morning feels like it was so long ago; as if it were a memory from yesterday, or the day before.

I made camp beneath the 300 year old Keffer Oak — the largest oak tree in the southern portion of the trail. Maybe some of its enduring wisdom will seep in to my night dreams.

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