Day 1 – Sun, Jan 23 – LST 16.5
Bert dropped me off at the western terminus of the trail (TH #1) at just after 9:00 AM and I was walking by 9:15. It was a beautiful first day – sunny and cool (50’s).
The trail is in good shape and there seems to be lots of water. Saw my first (and only) thru hikers of the day at about 2 miles (they were getting water out of a pond). Three guys who I never saw again. Also saw a few day hikers (maybe 6 or 7) over the course of the day.
Stopped for lunch at 11:30 and then back on the trail at 12:15. Got to Lake Conroe and my first campsite about 3:00.
Cell coverage is spotty. I have one bar here (sometimes). Dinner was nice – a freeze dried pasta thing. Supposed to rain tomorrow but who knows? I hit Stubblefield CG at about 4 miles tomorrow so I don’t need more than a liter of water from here. Too bad… there’s lots! A whole lake!
All in all a very nice first day of hiking. My first impression of the LST is very favorable.
Day 2 – Mon, Jan 24 – LST 35
Helluva day! It rained all day – non-stop – for 10 hours. I did not see another hiker all day. The first couple of hours weren’t too bad – my rain gear was keeping me dry and the trail conditions were good.
I got to Stubblefield Campground around 8:30 just before the rain really began to come down so I hung out for 30 minutes or so waiting for a lull before moving on. I crossed over the new bridge heading out of the campground.
By noon I was pretty much soaked. My rain poncho was holding up nicely but my “waterproof” mitten shells and wind pants were soaked through. I was really getting tired of the rain. I had gone about 12 miles and was on Cotton Creek Cemetery road when I noticed a house with a large carport on the south side of the road. I knocked on the door and asked a very nice lady if I could stand in her carport to get out of the rain. She said yes and I ended up eating my lunch there.
I didn’t want to leave the carport but I didn’t think the homeowners would let me camp there so I headed back out into the rain around 1:00. I got to the Camelia Lake dam (about mile 15 on the day) around 2:00. Was a little worried about this because of all the rain but it was easy-cheesy, just took off my shoes and socks and walked barefoot across the top.
I had planned to just find a place to camp near Alligator Creek (LST 33.2) but with all the rain I really wanted someplace I could get dry before putting up my tent so…. after looking at my map I decided to take the North Loop trail into Huntsville State Park. What I didn’t notice was that the trail crossed Alligator Creek after about a quarter mile. And with all the rain the creek was overflowing. I ended up fording the stream in my crocs after I took off my socks. I did not fall in. That is the best thing I can say about that.
I got to the campground after a couple miles (this turned into a 20+ mile day for me) around 3:00 PM, and payed my $34 for an RV site (really?). A nice gentleman gave me a ride to my campsite with access to a dry bathroom.
Huntsville State Park is not really set up for hikers or tent campers and it seemed a little pricey for basically a tent space, a picnic table and a flush toilet but I’m not complaining. The bathrooms were out of the rain.
The rain finally stopped around 10 PM. I got up around 1 AM and took the rain fly off my tent and shook it out because drops were falling on my face while I was sleeping. It seemed to help. Hopefully tomorrow will bring some sun…