11-20-12

Days since my thruhike began: 216
AT miles hiked today: 12.7
Total AT miles hiked: 1941.8
Miles to complete my thruhike: 242.4

Tonight I'm sleeping in the Harpers Creek Shelter. Within the first hour of hiking this morning I walked up to a dead deer blocking the trail. We had to step over and around it just to keep hiking. It had been shot and the hunter with his rifle was standing down the slope, looking up at us. He said he had shot it from further down the slope and dragged it there, though he admitted to shooting up towards the AT. This incident is disturbing in several ways, but I wasn't going to criticize a man with a gun who we probably just caught breaking the law. There is no hunting on the Appalachian Trail, but it depends on the state and county how close to the trail they can hunt and the ATC said it's hard to prove if they did break the law. All I know is that I'm very sure I will be wearing my blaze orange for the entire remainder of my hike, and I think every hiker should, as well. Yes, the hunters are required to follow all sorts of safety rules, but they don't always do it, and often alcohol is involved as well. It's just a practical safety measure where hunters, deer, turkeys, bears and hikers share the same woods.

There were lots of uphills today and my muscles feel weak. Maybe I lost my trail legs after all those zero days. About a mile after passing the dead deer I met Teddy Bear who was heading north on a slackpack. He wasn't wearing any orange and we chided him. We first met Teddy Bear at The Cabin in Andover, Maine. He was sick with what he thought was the norovirus but turned out to be Giardia, and he is hiking sobo to finish his flip flop hike at the Dragon's Tooth. He is going nobo just today for his slackpack. It is pretty awesome to be meeting all these people down here who I met in Maine. I love how my hike is turning out. I think I might have met more people this way than any other pattern of thruhiking would have allowed.

It was 51 degrees today and it started out hazy then the sun came put. It's been so much warmer, and I truly appreciate it. There are rocks hidden under the dead leaves which cover the trail and hide the hazards. The leaves are very slippery, too. There were some nice views from the ridge and I saw a pretty sunset from a viewpoint on Three Ridges Mountain. I took pictures and had Eagle Eye take some of me there. My body is looking pretty awesome and I want a record!

We night hiked until almost 7:30pm down a steep and rocky trail towards the shelter which is right by a steam. Tonight I will fall asleep to the sound of running water, which brings back happy memories of Maine. We will hike The Priest tomorrow, which is one of the steepest and longest climbs on the whole AT for a SOBO hiker. My feet hurt, and so does my blister. Is it turning into a callous yet? Maybe it is the shoe and not the ankle brace that is causing the blister. I haven't been wearing the brace since I got the blister and it's not getting better. Why won't it get better?