This morning was a nice one as I woke up to the luxuries of a bathroom in the fellowship hall and snacks still laid out on the counter, and I also filled my water bottles from a sink, instead of filtering from a bog or river. Life was good for the moment but the trail was calling our names for an early start to our 19 mile day.
Today’s miles would be entirely road marching again, but luckily the big storm for the day had pushed to the right of the clock a bit, and the forcast was now saying that the first drops of rain were not expected until this afternoon. With the good news of a dry hike, we all set out to move by 7am, with Gray Beard taking the north bound miles while Mickey and I drove the van up to hike south again. This “TKP” is actually a great way to do the trail, and although I was only going to do a day of it for the blog, I’m getting used to the idea and plan to stick with it for “just few more days”. Not just to help Gray Beard out, but the lighter pack is letting my feet and joints heal really well, plus we are all pacing to finish by March 31st.
As we started our hike (from another of the many church parking lots along this 40+ mile stretch or road), Mickey and I took our first strides south bound talking about the infamous Pepsi machine along the trail that we will pass today. There have been pictures of this machine on the facebook page for many years, and today we will get a cold pop from the trail side machine, that stands along the road in front of someone’s house. It was only five miles into the day when we arrived and took our break at the iconic machine, but we each got a soda and took an early break.
The remaining miles were like many of the other road marchs, with your head down while deep in thought and trying to figure out ones life in general. The hard pack sand road was void of cars as we hiked the miles away, and we occasionally laughed at the weirdness that comes to mind and sharing it with one another. This lasted until (and after) we met Gray Beard at the half way point for lunch, where we sat on the padded grounds of a pine forest and chatted about nothing in particular, all the while enjoying the moments of rest.
After lunch, we were back to making the mundane road miles slip by for a few more hours, and we even got a resupply run in, which took us to 5:30pm. Once our work was done for the day and we were finally at the trail head with camp set up, we could finally sit down in the grass and call it quits for the day. As we sat there at the trail head eating our dinner, a truck pulled up to let us know that “a big storm is headed our way”. We thanked them for the information (as the tops of the trees were bending from the approach winds of the impending storm) and went back to business as usual, planning the next few days and finishing our meals.
By 8pm the storm was getting close and it was obvious by the winds, lightening and thunder that this one plans on being a doosie tonight. I secured my rainfly tight and set it close to the ground to better ride this one out, and I got in my hammock to write this blog. As the first of the rain drops started to fall, I recieved a tornado warning for this area from my weather app and it’s now not a joke that something major is in the works for right here. I think back to that night outside of Moore Haven a few weeks ago and how tremendous that storm was, and by the sounds of the winds and thunder, tonight’s storm plans on rivaling that storm (and then some). The lighning is striking very close now and the horrendous pops of thunder are instantaneous with the bright flash of light from each strike. It’s an awesome display of power from mother nature, that’s for sure, but it’s also a little unnerving to think that my only protection from the storm is a thin rainfly over my swaying hammock.
Also in the forcast, are a few cold mornings coming up this week with lows in the lower 30’s. I don’t have the clothes for freezing temperatures, so I’m a little curious as to how I’m going to make it through the next few days… One day at a time I guess.
the famous, on trail soda machine! Thank you Sir, may I have another?
The hard pack sand roads, once again
brrr! At least it warms up a bit each day.