Started out in a light drizzle at Bear’s Den Hostel this morning. I’ve hiked this section of the AT many times with college friends. The familiarity and the memories of goofing off with friends staved off some of the what-the-f-have-I-done feeling. This starting point also made it possible to see my parents who are my HQ. I’m grateful for the support and also for them putting up with me pulling my hair out over ounces as I did a final gear run through.
On Sunday night, my mom drove me to the Elzer farm where my friend’s mother, Anne, made “tick stew” (lentils and rice) and my favorite dessert ever: peanut butter mousse tart with a fudge top layer. She called it JJ’s dessert because many years ago she made it for one of my birthday weekends where we all gathered at the farm. Then I spent about two hours packing and repacking my bag like the obsessive nut job that I am. Finally crashed around 1 AM feeling uncertain about the weather forecast for the next day and considering acquiescing to the prodding of Anne and Peter for me to wait for the rain to pass.
When I woke up it was misting, but not as bad as I expected. Had my final favorite breakfast while Peter looked on, amused (and skeptical) about my coffee gear. Then Peter drove me to Bear’s Den where I taught him how to take a picture on my phone and then set off for my first day on the trail. It took a lot of willpower not to stop every 20 yards take pictures of the wild flowers along side the trail. I had peanut butter pie as a mid morning snack.
To prevent myself from my overdoing it and to stay out of the impending cold rain, I stopped at the hikers cabin at Blackburn AT Center for the night. There’s a beautiful screened in wraparound porch with picnic tables and a small cabin with four bunks for hikers. Now I’m listening to the rain while a handful of thrus discuss the finer points of grain alcohol.
mile 1003.2 to 1011.1
creature feature: 3 deer bounded away as I crested a hill with moss covered rocks and little white wildflowers everywhere