Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Georgia On My Mind....

I should mention a correction to one of my previous posts. I mentioned that the Pinhoti Trail used prints of a chicken's foot to mark the trail. I later found out they are prints of a turkey's foot. *slapping self* I have no excuse for the mistake except that I'm not an expert on reading animal tracks. =)

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! =)


Anonymous said...

Um. There's still food left for a bear to eat.


You always leave us with ginormous cliffhangers! :)

Anonymous said...

um you.........funny or not really, that was my thoughts as well as those peanut M&Ms......which is what i am sure any smart bear would rather have...ooooooooo, much better than turtle :J

i sit here reading this post as i look at the count down clock with less than 20 hours to go, a bitter sad time in blog world. i have been real good about not posting begging posts about the lack of posts due in part that i know you are in an area without many ops to get a post posted and knowing that this hike is winding down. i actually thought about this while in the shower this morning. and then i get a surprise post tonight :J

still wishing there was a way to be back on that mountain when you finish, or better yet walk that final leg with you.

congrats on a great job.


Anonymous said...

oh, my how time flies.........less than 12 hours, where did today go??

Anonymous said...

The problem with the cliffhanger is that since you posted this, we know you aren't dead. Unless bears know how to use pocket mail...

Anonymous said...

maybe it's the local news team ready to pounce on your last leg of the trip.
woo hoo, Mt. Springer here we come...torn pack and all.
Hope you can get it repaired.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations, Ryan!!!

8 hours to go, hope the gathering is lots of fun, wish I was there.
Okie Dog

Anonymous said...

Well done Ryan! Enjoyed hearing your adventures. Hope today is a fun day for everyone at the end of the trail. Take care.
Ona Journey

Anonymous said...

congratulations on completing your goal.....and thanks for the free listing day

Anonymous said...

Hey congratulations!! on getting to the mountain (since it wasn't going to come to you).. from a newbie who is having *much* fun with Atlas Quest. I feel like a religious convert, can't stop telling everyone I know about our fabu new hobby of letterboxing. Really enjoying seeing some gorgeous places I've never seen before- after 23 years in my own city.
Hope you can find someone to give you a foot massage now ;)
Hey here is my school nurse/camper gal advice: about that backpack? never leave home without a *bunch* of big safety pins! (no sewing kit needed..)
Suzi of SuziLivvi in SF CA

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Ok, This is funny and ironic.

You mention that the Pinhoti trail markers were of a turkey footprint and not a chicken footprint after all.
Well your Alas Quest widget has a picture of a chicken on it saying, "Hand over all the eggs, or I swear I'll jump"

Sounds like he's threatening that because he wants the trail to be marked with chicken feet and not stupid turkey feet. lol!

Really, I am wondering if you are able to control which widget photos are matched with specific posts. It's just funny how they seem to go so well. :)

Hike on!
~Twinville Trekkers