Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Day 117: Cairns! Carins! Cairns!

July 2: We woke up to an absolutely beautiful morning and today would be the first time in days that it would be beautiful all day long! What a novelty!

The trail was still muddy and generally in bad condition from earlier weather, but I was just glad that that was the only issue for the day.

The bog bridges came this close to severe damage!

The highlight was passing through the Village of Cairns. I've posted about it before, both on my first AT thru-hike and during my Long Trail thru-hike two years earlier. I still love the place, though! The cairns seemed a bit more "run down" than in my earlier visits, but it was also much earlier in the year this time around. I suspect the winter snows destroy many of the cairns each year and it takes time for people to build it back up to the height of its glory.

So I spent about an hour working to add and fix cairns, particularly a line of rocks that looks like it is crawling up the side of a boulder.

I also stopped for a couple of hours at White Rock Cliffs which provides a magnificent view. I was also able to get an Internet connection on my smartphone there, so I caught up with email and messages. When I first arrived, I dropped a chuck of a Wheat Thin. It wasn't a whole Wheat Thin--it had cracked in half so it was more like half a Wheat Thin. I was going to pick it up before I left, but no rush to get it now.... right?

It wasn't there for five minutes when an ant came by and took an interest in it. He couldn't pick it up--it was a little too big for that--but he did start dragging it away and I watched with fascination. The Wheat Thin must have weighed a hundred times more than the ant did.

Over an hour later, the ant had moved the Wheat Thin about 4 feet. It was an industrious little thing, and occasionally another ant would visit it but it seemed like the original ant would tell it go away. "This is MY find!" I imagined it telling the other ants, "And I'm taking all of the credit for it!"

So he never got any help. It wasn't a flat piece of ground the ant was dragging this Wheat Thin over either. No, he carried it over rather rugged terrain. The ant would probably call them towering mountains. At one point, it lost its grip on the Wheat Thin and the Wheat Thin slid several inches down the mountain. Probably 15 minutes of work, lost in the blink of an eye. I kind of wanted to help the little fellow and move the Wheat Thin back to where it had slid down from.

Going down the other side of the mountain, the ant picked up speed--but mostly because he let gravity do most of the work of sliding the Wheat Thin downhill.

By the time I finally left, I didn't have the heart to take away the Wheat Thin from the ant. He'd put so much effort into moving that little piece of food. I know you aren't supposed to feed wild animals, but I let him have the Wheat Thin. He'd earned it.

Then I continued on, settling in for the night at the Greenwall Shelter. I was surprised to see four different water sources on the side trail to the shelter. During my Long Trail hike, there were none and people were reporting that the shelter had no water. I had manged to find some, hidden on a poorly defined and badly marked trail behind and to the side of the shelter, but there was definitely nothing ON the side trail to the shelter. Just goes to show how much more water is on the trail now than during my Long Trail thru-hike. I was stunned. FOUR water sources! Needless to say, I didn't bother to look for that fifth one hidden in the woods that almost nobody ever finds.

I shared the shelter with Bearfish, who was surprised to see that I arrived after he did. He thought I was ahead of him but he didn't know I'd walked off trail to the White Rock Cliffs where I hung out for an hour or two. Sunscreen and friends arrived as well.

A nice, pleasant day over all!

I like the artwork on the side of the shelter!

Easiest bridge you can build: Drop an I-beam across the creek and call it done!

Little Rock Pond

Part of the Village of Cairns

This is my favorite creation because I built it! =)

View from White Rock Cliffs

Greenwall Shelter


Anonymous said...

I loved the ant story. What a trooper he was!


BrockBrood said...

I, too, love the ant story! I was totally expecting to see a picture of said ant.

Mary said...

I agree - a photo of the ant and Wheat Thin would have been great! i loved the story.

MoonshineOverKY said...

I was quite surprised there wasn't a picture of the ant! Nice story. Love the video of the cairns as well - very cool place!

Jaxx said...

That ant must have had High Hopes