Black Rock Mountain Hut to Pine Field Hut
Miles Hiked: 13.4
AT Milage: 897.6
Today I left camp at about 8am. I was really tired since I could barely sleep last night. I ended up staying up and talking to Lionheart until 2am because we both couldn’t sleep and everyone in the shelter was snoring really loud anyways. Nothing changed with my feet. I took a thirty minute break about three miles in at a picnic area and then I took another one after three more miles. At each break I took off my shoes, massaged my feet and stretched. At the second break, Luna caught up to me, sat down next to me, grabbed my feet, and started massaging them. I wanted to scream in pain but it also felt good. My ankles were a lot tighter than I realized they were. It turns out that other people are better at massaging my feet the way they need to be than I am. Again, this is another example of a hiker going out of their way to help me! What an act of kindness. Luna is on the third leg of his triple crown. He completed the PCT and CDT already except for two small sections less than 150 miles long that he has to go back and finish due to injury and a fire closure. He had plantar fasciitis on the PCT and understands what my feet are going through. It’s nice to have other people out here who have had experience of getting through the same injuries on a long distance hike. I then hiked the rest of the way to the camp store with Fancy Feast and Luna. It turns out that Luna is the only person I have tried to match my strides with and I don’t fall behind him. Meaning that we have the same length of stride. I easily fall behind everyone else I have tried to match stride with because I take slightly smaller steps. I would say on average that I have to take an extra 10-15 steps for every 100 steps every other hiker takes. Sometimes it feels like I have to expend a lot of extra energy to hike with others unless I am in the front setting the pace.
At the camp store, I bought a mint chocolate chip milkshake. One of the benefits of being in the national park is that there are little camp stores also called waysides almost right on the trail. This means that you can snack very well and easily in the park without making a big effort to do so. I decided to take a long break here since I was doing another small milage day and already hiked more than half the miles before noon. I had to say goodbye to Luna and Fancy Feast because they are going to hike at least 20 miles today. I was sad to say goodbye because I really liked them. After they left me, I just lounged around in my chair soaking up the sun. Eventually, I got up and hiked the rest of the way to camp.
I stoped at another view at which I accidentally tossed my phone off a cliff! I had it in the hip belt of my backpack and when I swung my backpack around it flew out and off the mountain. I was shocked about how quickly I just lost my method of communication with friends and family. Not only that but all my pictures and blog post drafts. What a pain it would be to have to re write them all! Luckily this was a cliff I could kind of climb to the bottom of, so I did. I was also lucky enough to find my phone at the bottom in an abyss of tree roots and rocks. Some of the rocks were tumbling off the cliff as I climbed down it. My phone still worked which was great but also not surprising because the phone case I have makes it almost indestructible when getting dropped. I have dropped my phone from other significant heights with great results in the past.
Less than a mile before the shelter I saw a tiny black paw climbing up a tree on the side of the trail. I knew it was a bear so I got out my camera and started taking a video because I haven’t gotten a single picture of the many bears I’ve seen in the past. This bear ended up being a cub and its mom and sibling were with it too. As I was taking the video, I followed all the guidelines published on the bear warning signs posted by the national park. I yelled at the bears and after they did not care to run away, like every other bear experience I’ve had, I decided to calmly back up and bushwhack my way around them to Skyline Drive. I was close to a parking area that the trail crossed so all I had to do was walk down the road to the parking area and continue on. At the parking area I made a long phone call to my mom and dad because I missed them a lot. The ʕ·ᴥ·ʔ video is posted on both my facebook and Instagram account.
The rest of the walk to the shelter was through a field with pine trees that were very pretty. There were some black berry bushes on the side so I stopped to eat them. At the shelter I camped with Frog and Red Feather again. When I got there Red Feather was banging his shoes around the shelter to kill something. I asked him what it was and he told me that if I knew I would change my mind about staying in the shelter, then I saw the dead spiders about the size of my palm. I was grossed out but since Red Feather said he just killed them all and I really didn’t want to set up my tent in potential rain, I stayed in the shelter anyways. There were some deer that ended up getting really close to us at the shelter tonight. It was cool to watch them graze.