A Late night made for a late and relaxed morning. I almost feel like I need to make a point of slow mornings so I don’t get too rushed and forget the core truth of thru-hiking: that I have no place to be. I enjoyed a calorie dense Danish and had a lengthy máte with Atlas. He said he’d get his girlfriend to send some máte de coca but he cautioned of hiking too fast up mountains.
The forest is so green it’s like spring burst out in the last three days. Standing around is now tolerable which means hiking has turned hot and sweaty.
We rolled out at 10:30-ish with Rockman in his speedo. You could tell he was uncomfortable but he tried to lean into it to be a good sport. Meanwhile, Snuggles is looking great in some neon pants from Daystar. The boys are looking fly.
The Smokies seem far away already. The forest is so green it’s like spring burst out in the last three days. Standing around is now tolerable which means hiking has turned hot and sweaty.
We had an early climb up Snowbird mountain. At the top was a bald with a high profile government facility. We met Cat on top who crouched down to get out of a stiff wind. (More about him later – he’s freakin awesome!)
The weirdest thing happen when I was hiking just shy of Max Patch. A handsome man stopped me and offered to hump my pack over the mountain while I took a side trail straight to camp. Being the non purest I am, I immediately yielded.
For a few, freedom can exist in Spandex.
My friends later told me about hiking with the man. Apparently his name is Ranger Danger and he preaches the good word of Leave No Trace. They showed me this picture of a grown man while seemingly no shred of pride or dignity.
He seemed to think thru hikers could be doing it better and pushes them to be the example.
“Everyone loves seeing flowers in the woods, just not downy flowers. Please bury your TP with your poo”
~ Ranger Danger
Maybe we’ll see more of ranger danger on summits and special occasions. You might question a man in a unitard but I’m sure he reserves the same right to question why it matters to you. The Appalachian trail is ready for some weird and for banishing the last shred of social pressure that corruptingly molds a persons soul. For a few, freedom can exist in Spandex.
I met back up with the group at a beautiful campsite I recycled from my first hike. It was the first water source right at the toe of max patch and an opportunity to enjoy the bald for a bit longer. A lot of thru hikers rolled by while we made camp. Everyone heard rain so they scurried to a wooden shack in the woods. The sunset was a deep red to bright yellow. It was definitely worth getting my tarp wet.