The trail has suddenly become very hiker friendly. After a short climb to the Vanevevter Shelter (our original destination yesterday), the trail follows the ridge line with very little elevation change. The Vaneventer Shelter, by the way, has the best and, as near as I can tell, the only view on this section of the trail.
During the western migration of the late 1800’s, a young man set out to seek his fame and fortune. In route, he was robbed of what little money he had, and decided to settle near Iron Mountain, over which this section of the A.T. passes. For the next 40 years, Nick Grindstaff lived as a hermit until he died in 1923, and a monument was built in his remembrance in 1925. His epitaph is, perhaps, the most sad commentary on someone’s life I have ever read. “He lived alone, he suffered alone, he died alone.”
Boo Boo’s famed speed exploits on the trail have finally taken their toll. He has developed a severe case of shin splints, and has decided to leave the trail for a few days in order to recover from his injuries. He painfully made it to the TN 91 parking area where I caught up with him while he was trying to hitch a ride to Damascus. We rested there together for a while until someone finally stopped to offer him a ride. See you in Damascus, Boo Boo.
After crossing TN 91, the trail passes through something completely different. For the next mile, I climbed over a really nice farm pasture covered with dandelions. The trail through here is handicap-accessible, and at the apex of the meadow there was even a bench to sit on while enjoying the idyllic view.
Spring continues to blossom at the lower elevations with thousands of blossoming wild flowers. It looks a little strange, but there is green grass growing on each side of the trail where the earth has been aerated by the pokes of thousands of hiker trekking poles. It certainly makes it easy to see the path that the trail takes off in the distance!
After an easy day’s hiking, I arrived at the Double Springs Shelter. After getting water from the spring, I climbed a short distance above the shelter and found a nice little camping spot with just enough flat space to accommodate my tent. Tonight, I will get a good night’s rest and see what tomorrow brings.