Now back to our adventuring hero, who hid out in the Oakley Shelter with two other thru-hikers (though neither of them started as far south as Key West!)
The morning brought rain and lots of it, and we huddled in our sleeping bags with no particular enthusiam for leaving the shelter.
The rain did start to slacken, and having written off reaching Cave Spring today, took my time getting ready to leave. While stuffing the last of the contents into my pack, I heard a terrific ripping sound, and stood agast at a one foot long tear along a seam of the extension collar of my pack.
Well, crap. I didn't have any sewing materials on me, and neither did Warren. Mortis had already left the shelter (though I later learned he had no needle or thread either).
My pack was practically empty since I had almost no food left, so I shoved most everything in my pack below the rip and rested my clothes bag on top to be held in place with the pack's top flap. I'd have to be VERY careful with my pack until I could get to Cave Spring to sew up the tear.
I wasn't on the trail until 10:00. I did get a few brief moments to use Warren's cell phone to surf Atlas Quest and read a couple of the comments about the April Fool's joke on Atlas Quest.
I was telling my shelter mates about the joke, and it was just killing me being out in the woods unable to see what was going on with this joke that had been months in the making, so it was enormously gratifying to read a small portion of the message board chatter right there from the shelter! I didn't want to run his batteries down or run up his cell phone bill, however, so I only scanned a handful of entries. Looks like it was quite a hit, though! =)
The rain had stopped by the time I hit the trail at 10:00, and there's not much to report. More of the same. Up hills, down hills. The weather warmed considerably, and climbing uphill would cause my shirt to be completely saturated with sweat. I literally would wring out the sweat and leave a wet spot on the trail that I can only imagine hikers behind me thought was pee. =) (But you know, in a way, knowing it's pure sweat is almost even more gross.)
Even in Florida I was never able to wring sweat out of my shirt.
I think the Pinhoti Trail has been spoiling me. When I crossed Highway 278, the trail--for the first time in about 100 miles--entered an area harvested for lumber. Dirt roads criss-crossed the trail, piles of branches and debris lay in clear cuts, and the blazes mysteriously stopped and were replaced with orange ribbons that I never quite trusted.
In a nutshell, I was finding myself hating the trail. But then I realized, "Hey, wait a minute. At least it's not a ROAD WALK through Crenshaw County!" After that thought, the trail seemed like paradise again. =)
Not to mention that the clouds blew off and it turned into a remarkably beautiful (if warm) sunny day.
Despite my late start, I still reached the Georgia state line near 6:00 in the afternoon (7:00 eastern, which is the time zone I just walked into as well). I took a few pictures of me at the sign marking the state line and the two flags for each of the two states that are separated at the line.
It was a more somber occasion than the Florida-Alabama state line. This one represented the final state. My time on the trail is almost done, and it will be done in just two more weeks. A time of happiness, but one of sorrow. An adventure at an end.
I set up camp about a half mile beyond the state line, cooking up the last of my dinners. I'll reach Cave Springs in the morning, and not a moment too soon as I figure the only food I'll have left when I arrive is some powdered milk and bean flakes. My food supply had never run so bare, but I'm not complaining. It just means that I carried absolutely nothing more than I absolutely had to.
In other news, as I type this now (9:30 eastern time), I hear something ruffling through the leaves just north of me. I can't see what it is, and when I call out to it, it seems to ignore me. Usually if it's a deer, it'll run like hunters are after it since often enough, hunters ARE after it. But whatever this creature is, it doesn't seemed concerned by me. I don't much like animals that don't have a healthy respect for people. =)
At least if it's a bear, I don't have any food left for it to eat. Well, there is one bowl of cereal left for the morning breakfast and a bag of M&Ms (peanuts with dark chocolate, if you must know) as a snack for the hike into Cave Springs, but a bear wouldn't know that! =)