Max Patch Bald

5-22-12 AT miles hiked today: 6.4 Total AT miles hiked: 254.1

I saw my first bear! Okay, so it only looked like a moving black dot, but still, yay, a bear!

So I succumbed to the sluggishness of my probably still dehydrated body (too much beer at trail days, hardly any water). Or I succumbed to peer suggestion. Or both. Anyway, when I got to the top of Max Patch, Houdini and Joe were hatching a plan to camp up here. I said yes right away. It might be the coolest place I've been able to stay at, and I have several times tried to work out that I camp on top of a bald, but never made it work until now.

Our biggest problem was being low on food, so we pooled our resources and made a yummy mac and cheese with taco seasoning and cut open my garlic/parsley gel capsules to add the garlic flavor. Roll up in a tortilla, add a few veggie chips and it's a yummy meal, at least if you are hiking. There is no water up here either, so we pooled that as well and had a dry dinner. We want to carry fruits and veggies out of Hot Springs to make a group meal on the trail because this worked out so well.

In the meantime, I filled up my memory card on the real camera and am using the backup now. I'll need to send home copies before I clear my card. The light up here was perfect because it was cloudy. The greens were so intense and there were no hard shadows. Plus there were lots of interesting cloud formations. We got completely fogged in at one point, and it rained lightly. Once we heard thunder and planned our bailout point as the campsite a half a mile down the hill, but so far it has only rained. We will spend the night, without sunset pictures, but I'm still hoping for sunrise pictures.

We will have to hike 16 miles tomorrow and then 3 into Hot Springs the following morning, possibly without breakfast. I really feel slow now-people who started their hikes on May 10th (Miles) are passing us. I will probably have to flip flop, but I'll wait and see when I get to Harpers Ferry. If I make it by July 4-15, I may be able to go on north, otherwise I won't have time. But I truly can't regret this decision. It feels lazy, but a big part of why I came out here was to spend time in nature and to take pictures and I did both. I just didn't walk much. Big miles tomorrow. I hope my body is ready!

This is an amazingly wonderful place to spend time. A local woman we met said that on sunny weekends the parking lot overflows down the road and people fly kites, play drums, picnic and just hang out like a fair. I would love to see that some day. I'll come back here for sure.