Waking up at canoe cemetery was another upper 30’s chilly morning. I was second up to Grey Beard who asked if I was haunted lastnight. I laughed and said Sarah slept soundly lastnight, but he said that his van shook twice as he tried to sleep. We joked that the dead saw an old man in a metal box and tried to wake him for the nightly festivities.
All four of us hit the trail at 7:20 this morning for the last 8 mile trek with Grey Beard before our trails split. It was a great 8 miles of watching how he nimbly bounces through the swamps at a rapid pace and hikes at a constant 3mph pace. He is such an inspiration that when we made it to the split in the trail, we were all saddened by what was to come next. We took humorous photos and joked around a bit, but soon the time came for him put on his pack and make the right hand turn down the blue blaze trail.
After the heart felt split, Mickey, Treehouse and I turned the miles by ourselves until we hit a trail head at the beginning of our road march for a break. As we sat in the shade having a smoke by the road, there came Kelly with Master Key (who just finished the trail this morning with a 29+ miles per day average!) Kelly knows the trail so well, she knew where we would be, and we all had a mini reunion at the trail head.
After we departed, we only had a few miles to hike to a gas station where we had hot dogs for dinner, and a spiked tea for desert. After that, the trail follows a 2.5 mile section of highway before cutting back into the woods. This section of highway was being repaired and closed to traffic, so we had the whole two lane highway to ourselves and the easiest road march to hike!
It was a great hike today through easily passable swamps, nice trails and easy road marching today, but it’s hard to believe Grey Beard is off on his own adventure now. We ended up building camp after 17 miles of hiking and then sat around for a few hours listening to Treehouse’s playlist and adding a few tunes not on there. We talked a lot about each others lives and bonded over the radio and conversation until 11pm. That is very late in the hiking world, and we are stealth camping right on the trail, so we should probably get some sleep and pack up camp early in the morning. Can you believe we have less than 50 miles to go?
A babbling stream flowing under the foot bridge
Grey Beard taking his first step away from the Orange blazes
a healthy little pitcher plant
Camping on the trail. Treehouse isn’t using a tent or hammock, it’s called cowboy camping