Mile 485 – 498
As I packed up some lawbreaking mountain bikers rolled by. It was Sunday morning so the trail was a little busier than usual. There were some little caves along the trail. Not natural ones, I think for mining surveys maybe. A hiker naked Quickstart told me he’d climbed inside and they opened up beyond the small entrances. I decided I’d take his word for it.
There was a little spring a few miles in. The tiny flow of water was channeled into the cut-off top of a plastic water bottle. It took a minute to fill the bag for my filter. A couple of hikers arrived and we took turns filling our bags. The couple had hiked the Appalachian trail. “I dragged him out here with me. He doesn’t like hiking as much as I do. He gets bored doing nothing but walking all day.” The girl told me. They were both carrying umbrellas and small backpacks. I asked if they planned to walk all the way to Canada. “Maybe, we’ll see. We’d planned on running a lot more, but with all the water we have to carry, it’s just too heavy. I was getting shin splints. Originally I planned on us doing 40 mile days but it’s too much.”
It was hot and the bugs were super annoying. I had a constant cloud of little flies around my head all day. I would hold my poles in one hand and swat in front of my face. The flies would never stay away. They occasionally darted in to get stuck on my lips. They seemed determined to get into my mouth. I thought about that Radio Lab episode about the parasites that need to spend part of their life cycle inside a sheep, so they take over ants’ brains and force them to climb up grass in sheep pastures. Maybe something similar was happening here. I tried to keep my mouth shut.
Around lunchtime I wandered off path to a shady spot under an oak tree. I wolfed down some food and then napped hard for an hour.
I was excited about reaching mile 500 but decided that I could wait till the next morning. There was a pit toilet at Sawmill Camp. I lit my stove inside the fire pit and ate dinner watching a fiery sunset.