12-3-12

Days since my thruhike began: 229
AT miles hiked today: 13.6
Total AT miles hiked: 2087.9
Miles to complete my thruhike: 96.3

I have less than 100 miles to hike. This is real! After all this time and all these miles I have about a week of hiking left and then I'm done. I wonder if I'll reassimilate quickly, or have a hard time. I'm trying to prepare myself for the transition from mostly quiet, individual encounters and much solitary time outdoors to returning home to friends, family, and the need to figure out what to do next in my life during the holiday season. There will be parties, including my birthday. I won't have money to do real Christmas gifts, and I can only hope to get my car legal quickly, since I'm planning to drive several hundred miles back home after my flight out to Denver. I'm trying to prepare ahead of time, but I struggle to really imagine anything other than getting up in the morning, strapping on my pack and hiking to the next spot I haven't yet seen to spend the night.

Today we hiked from Four Pines Hostel (1487.4) to a stealth site partway down the ridge before VA 621 (1501). We set up our tents in a spot near a fire ring just off the trail. I bet it has a nice view through the trees in the morning. Tomorrow we get to pick up our buckets of food so right now my food bag is nice and small with hardly anything in it.

We spent two hours at the Dragon's Tooth, making calls and texts, taking pictures and eating lunch. It was warm and sunny and beautiful weather today. Getting up to Dragon's Tooth involved some minor rock scrambles like New England, which made me a little nostalgic. Otherwise the trail was nice.

The air was so warm I thought it smelled like spring, especially around the stream. We had an early dinner at the stream before coming four miles uphill in the dark. That way we didn't have to carry the cooking water or our dinners as we headed uphill. We had dry snacks later at the campsite. It was an enjoyable night hike, but we stopped at 9pm to set up camp instead of hiking longer.