Day 12, Mar 13, PT 132.2
Tammy, the Heflin City Director of Economic Development (and also the main hiker person in Heflin) was a little late picking me up, but that was okay since I had forgotten about daylight savings time. It was still dark at 6:30. She picked me up about 6:50 and I was at the trail head and hiking at 7 AM.
This was definitely my best day of hiking so far. The trail was a nice, packed earth path and it was a beautiful day, perfect for hiking. The day started about 39°F and slowly warmed into the low 50s.
I met my third hiker of the trail today, Aaron. I ran into him right before the campground where I had intended to have lunch and ended up joining him for lunch. He has done the PCT, the CDT, and while I am stopping at the end of the Pinhoti trail, he is continuing on the AT to Maine. And he is doing about 30 miles today. Out of my league.
I had some nice views today, passing a High Rock Lake at one point.
I felt so good today I decided to push on past my intended camp spot which was dry, one and a half miles to the Laurel Shelter, which has water. This is my longest day of the hike, 19 miles.
Day 13, Mar 14, PT 147.9
Around 5 o’clock yesterday evening Jared, a local hiker, showed up at the shelter so I had company for the night. He started before me this morning but I caught him around 11: 30 right before lunch at the Chocoloco Shelter.
It was a cold morning, and of course they were lots of river crossings. Passed Shoal Creek Church early in the day, just off the trail, one of the oldest churches in Alabama.
I passed three day hikers who were section hiking together and met a lady coming south with two dogs. So a little more activity on the trail today.
I camped at Dugger Gap, which as the name implies is a wind tunnel and it was a cold, windy night. Someone (I later found out it was Jared) walked through my camp about 6:30 but had passed before I could pop out.
Day 14, Mar 15, PT 165.2
Cold, windy night but I was cozy in my tent and 10 degree quilt! And it turned into a beautiful hiking day; clear, sunny and temps in the mid-50’s
And more signs…
The day was so nice and I felt so good I pushed passed my intended (dry) campsite to another (dry) campsite.
Day 15, Mar 16, PT 180.2
Very exciting day. Today is a three picnic bench day! I stopped at shelters (which always have a picnic bench) for my first break, lunch and my camp. Sweet!
And I caught up with Jared! Seems we’ve been passing each other without knowing it. He passed up my campsite last night when he saw my tent shivering in the wind. Jared is a hammock camper so was looking for something a bit less exposed.
We hiked near each other all day but this will be it for Jared – he is stopping at the Georgia state line – he has a job he as to get back to.
Another Pinhoti Trail first…. A ladder!
And a big milestone, I left Alabama and entered Georgia.
This was a relatively short day (15 miles) because the shelter where I stopped is the last good place to camp before town and it is supposed to rain tonight and tomorrow. Shelters are always preferred on rain days!
Day 16, Mar 17, PT 190.2, Cave Spring
It did indeed rain last night, starting about 3:00 AM. The shelters keep you dry but the tin roof tends to amplify the rain noise, making it sound worse that it is.
I saw more wildlife today, two deer, moving way too fast to get a picture and this guy, who posed for me. Over the past two week I have seen surprisingly little, a couple of wild turkeys and some squirrels. And dogs, of course.
The trail was mostly good but there were some very wet stretches. Fortunately, while it was very wet, it was not cold – temps were in the 50’s.
And, in case I was wondering where i was…
After about 3 hours, I hit the road around 10:30. Oh, yeah, I’m in a different time zone, so the sun is coming up at 7:45 instead of 6:45.
Day 16, Mar 17, PT 190.2, Cave Spring Zero
There was no answer when I knocked at the Hearn Inn so I called the number on the sign and a nice lady showed up in 10 minutes to let me in and show me around. I am the only guest and this is a great hiker stop. The inn has a washer/dryer, a full kitchen and is close to the town center.
Looking forward to a day of rest and planning the next section. Things are getting cold again!
But that can wait til tomorrow…