I awoke at 5:45 am and ate a breakfast of granola and milk. Then I took down the tent and packed all my gear. At 6:30 am, I started hitching on South Arm Road one block from my camp. In 5 minutes, a local resident stopped and drove me back to the trail. Thank you!
The AT headed uphill steeply. Soon the three north-bound slack packers from Alaska with whom I ate dinner last night passed me. The 2,400-ft climb to Old Blue Mountain took me 2 hours. The elevation trace of the trail for the rest of the day looked easy with not much elevation gain and only one steep descent. But numerous short ups and downs plus lots of rocky trail wore me out. After reaching Bemis Mountain, I walked another half hour to a look out for lunch. The scene included two huge lakes (see photo).
Onward I hiked for 3 miles, mostly downhill and often on slabs of bedrock. The trail steepened for the last mile of the day. My going down leg muscles felt weak. Finally, I reached a gravel road and Trail Magic. Two kind persons filled a cooler with cold drinks and snacks. I drank a cold soda. Heavenly! The rush of cold liquid and sugar propelled me a quarter mile to a camp site with a stream nearby. After getting water, I set up my tent and cooked dinner. Then I splashed in the creek to remove most of the day’s dirt and sweat. My outlook improved greatly. I’m still concerned that my going down leg muscles may not have what it takes to finish the hike. I hope they get stronger fast. Tomorrow, I hike 14.2 miles in a relatively flat section to ME 4 and check out the Hiker Hut only 0.3 miles from the trail.