Padfoot was still asleep when I left camp this morning. I wanted to thank her for the interesting conversation last night but quietly left camp without disturbing her. For some reason, I woke up much earlier than I usually do but it was just as well because the day had all the makings of being a scorcher.
The A.T. Trail Guide indicated an elevation profile that was basically flat for the entire day. Past experience had me prepared for the terror of what must lay ahead, but this time the trail really was easy. Shortly after leaving camp, I passed a pretty little pond bathed in the morning light. As much as I dislike power lines, even the view in the right of way was nice with the fog hanging low in the valley.
By late morning, I was walking on the ridge line over huge slabs of rock. There were a few rocky sections along the way, but after PA this seemed like child’s play. The sun was beating down on the exposed ridge line and you could feel the heat radiating from the rocks. But at least the sky was clear which afforded numerous views of the valley below, especially from Rattlesnake Mountain. I still haven’t seen a Rattlesnake, but there were plenty of other snakes out sunning themselves.
One thing the ridge walk did not have was water and my need for that life giving liquid was becoming critical. In the afternoon I took the side trail to Brinks Shelter to take a break and look for water. I had to travel a long way down the trail to the spring but when I found it, the water was cool and refreshing. After drinking about two liters of water, I filled my bottle again and returned to the shelter to cool down and eat lunch.
After lunch, it was back to the ridge line where I walked for several miles with a view of a big lake. I could just imagine how good it would feel to take a swim there. The flat walk finally ended when I began a 300 foot descent to Culvers Gap. Just before reaching US 206, I came across the most unusual trail magic presentation I have ever seen. Instead of the usual cooler, pastries and fruit had been placed in plastic bags and hung from a tree! I couldn’t resist helping myself to an apple.
From Culvers Gap, there was a 500 foot climb to the top of a hill where the Culver Fire Tower is located. Once again, I declined to make the climb, but elected instead to take a break at a nearby picnic table where the view was just fine. Bad Santa came by while I was there with his usual colorful commentary on the heat, the climb, and life in general.
The Gren Anderson Shelter was just a little over a mile away, so Bad Santa and I headed that way to call it a night. The shelter was so unspectacular that I neglected to even take a picture of it. After filtering water from the conveniently nearby spring and eating dinner, I retired to my tent and took a baby wipe bath. It wasn’t exactly the same as a swim in a lake, but it was somewhat refreshing.