Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Day 48: A Bland and Dismal Day

April 24: By morning, the strong winds had finally died down. The skies were still beautiful and clear, but the morning was cold! Even found some frozen-over puddles a bit down the trail. I don't know exactly how cold it got, but I knew it was below freezing if the puddles were able to freeze!

Sunrise was clear and beautiful, but cold!

I didn't meet many people on the trail today either. I found Disciple, breaking down camp about 1/4-mile further down the trail from where I set up camp, and then there was Three-Halves, a section hiker napping at a shelter. I didn't see anyone else on the trail on the entire day and wondered where all the hikers went. It was strange not to see anyone!

Early in the morning, the trail passed an ice chest full of water bottles. Cold water bottles since there was still ice in the ice chest, not that ice was needed on this particular morning. On top of the ice chest was a container of lemonade powder or something to flavor the water--a setup I hadn't seen before. In any case, I passed on it. I didn't need water, flavored or otherwise.

Then the trail passed the road that led into Bland. Everyone I knew who was close behind me were going into Bland, but I didn't need to resupply and carried onwards. Over I-77, and waved at the vehicular traffic passing under me.

View of Bland in the distance from my campsite.

Late in the day, I reached the trail junction for Dismal Falls. Given a name like that, you'd think it wouldn't be worth hiking 0.3 miles off trail to see it, but it's a wonderful little fall. I don't know how it got such a dismal name, but it's not particularly fitting. I also looked for a letterbox I hid nearby 12 years earlier, but alas, I came up empty-handed. It was gone!

During the whole day, I had considered camping near Dismal Falls but ultimately pushed on. The falls were loud and I wanted a quieter campsite. And the area immediately around the falls looked a bit rundown. I'd imagine on a beautiful weekend afternoon, the place might host enormous quantities of people and it looked like it suffered as a result.

So I pushed on a couple of extra miles before setting up camp along Dismal Creek. I didn't set up my tarp at first--it's easier to get around without a tarp getting in the way, but just before going to sleep I did set it up. The weather forecast did predict rain early the next morning and I wanted to be prepared for it.

And that was my day. All-in-all, a fairly boring day as far as days go! But it was a pleasant walk. =)

Cold water! With stuff to flavor the water if you so choose.

Temperatures were cold enough overnight to partly freeze this puddle. The ice wasn't obvious in the photo, so I broke it with my trekking pole to make it stand out a little more. =)

Crossing over Interstate 77.

There was some road work on the trail just past I-77 and I found this cone in the middle of the road. So I put it on my head like the statue in Glasgow had. (You remember my hike through the Scottish Highlands, right?) You can tell the temperature is still PDC (Pretty Darned Cold!) because I'm bundled in three layers of clothes and am using a buff to keep my face warm.

Oh, bugger... Wait a minute! The AT veers off to the right at this point anyhow, so we don't have to go any further down the road anyhow! Whew! This was the end of the road walk! =)

I'd have thought Blueberry hung these bones on the snag if I didn't know for a fact that he was behind me on the trail at this time.

It's a colorful little beetle!

This privy even included a mailbox! They think of everything! I'm just kidding... the mailbox is to store toilet paper in so rodents can't eat it. I guess they do think of everything! Actually, they don't... Hikers complained bitterly about the metal toilet seats which are $*#* cold to sit on--especially on a cold morning!

Butterfly on the trail!?

One hiker with too much time on his hands created this 600-mile marker at the 600-mile point on the trail.

Shadow games at a road crossing.

Some people don't like powerlines because they're ugly, but look at the views they provide!

Caterpillar invasion!

Now that's a butterfly!

Be careful of dead branches. They sometimes like to grope passing thru-hikers!

Kimberling Creek. The AT crosses the creek on that suspension bridge. I stopped for a snack break at the bottom of it just because I could. =)

Dismal Falls wasn't so dismal!

Since the weather was supposed to be good all afternoon and evening, I didn't set up my tarp... least not until just before I went to sleep, because it was expected to rain early the next morning.

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