12-1-12

Days since my thruhike began: 227
AT miles hiked today: 19.8
Total AT miles hiked: 2068.4
Miles to complete my thruhike: 115.8

CW drove us to the trail (thank you!) and we started out slowly at 6:40am while he parked. He caught us and we headed up the hill together, but we had light packs and twenty miles to go, so we pulled ahead and didn't see him after that hill. We had talked about going to The Home Place, a family style AYCE (all you can eat) restaurant that is famous among thruhikers on the AT. That meant we had to get to the road to Catawba and meet Karen before the restaurant closed.

Hiking up to Tinker Cliffs we met Handstand. He thruhiked 10 years ago and knows the Noodleheads! We met them in Massachusetts and followed their register entries after that. He told us they were Triple Crowners. No wonder they were so fast and lightweight and efficient.

I loved Tinker Cliffs. It was beautiful up top, and there were many people sunning on the flat rocks along the cliff. We followed the trail along the edge of the cliff for about a half mile, so got some nice views. I waded through leaves deeper than ever before. They were up to my knees at times especially going uphill. Pushing through them with my legs was tiring, like wading through snow, and it was impossible to see what was buried underneath. The weather was 60 degrees and beautiful and I even saw a register entry from Nice Lady! That was neat.

We hiked from the Daleville road to the Catawba road from 6:40am to 6:40pm. It took us our standard 12 hours to do 20 miles. We went up and across Tinker Cliffs and then got up to McAffee Knob just before dark, at 4:30. We took pictures and headed down at 5pm to meet Karen. There were a bunch of people up on McAfee Knob, and they all planned to go to The Home Place, too. We headed down the AT in the dark and it was another fairly easy trail for night hiking.

Karen arrived at the road within minutes of us and we drove to The Home Place restaurant, which was packed and had a waiting list. We almost left, but I begged to stay and we got in quicker than we had expected. It was amazing southern food, and plenty of it. I love them and would go back in a heartbeat. Rick was the other hiker that Karen brought to dinner and we all visited and had a nice meal together. On the way back we had to quickly stop at Walmart, but the pharmacy had just closed and Eagle Eye couldn't get her eye meds, so we have to go back in the morning. I threw in laundry, took a shower, and went to bed after 11 pm, full, clean and completely exhausted.