Day 37 on the Appalachian Trail

Last night was cool, and I was barely warm even with my long-john top and bottoms on. I awoke early and started hiking at 6:30am.  In two miles, I passed the turnoff to the Sarvis Hollow shelter. Past the shelter, hiking was level but rocky. Slow going especially where I traversed huge slabs of sandstone. About 6 miles on the day, the trail started downhill. In about an hour, I heard water running. I dropped my pack and found a spring a hundred feet from the trail. I had run out of water and appreciated getting a liter from the spring. In less than a mile, I crossed a stream and got more water. In another mile, I reached Nidday shelter where I met Scarecrow and Optimistic Dictator. After a short rest, I continued on rather than eat lunch at 10:30 am. Downhill for 2 miles to Craig Creek and ate lunch by a creek a half mile later. After refueling, I headed uphill for a 1500-foot climb. By this time, the sun was hot. I drank water frequently but still wanted more water. Happily, the trail gained elevation gradually and had a smooth tread. After lots of huffing and puffing, I reached a road with a bench where Optimistic Dictator was talking on the phone. I walked on the grassy, old road to the Audie Murphy memorial (he died in a plane crash near the Appalachian Trail). The trail ran level for a few miles then headed downhill on a fine trail. In spite of drinking lots of water, I was thirsty. Happy, at the bottom of the descent, I met two trail Angels. I sat in a comfy chair and drank two sodas and ate three quesadillas. Reluctantly, I headed uphill to the Pickle Branch shelter. I ended up camping with other hikers on the side trail to the shelter. A great day. Today's miles - 18.8. Total miles - 695.1.

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