Day 2

Day two

Tuesday June 6, 1995

The morning was very soggy and we were still in pain. The talk around the breakfast squat was of how can we get back to our car and still be alive. We did talk of shortening our trip, of calling Wes to come and get us ASAP. Then we decided to give it another day and see what happened.

This day we were supposed to walk to Hawk Mountain Shelter, which is 7.4 miles away. We are still in camp farting around and moaning at 10:30 am. We didn’t realize that time was of the essence. We finally broke camp at 11:30 am. The young couple and dog broke late too. I had a run in with the dog when I was afraid he was going to lift his leg on my tent. I ran him off.

The trail to Hawk Mountain Shelter was great for the first part of the day. We meandered through an ancient Hemlock forest and it was fairly level, not so much up and down. We believed the tough part was over. We rejoiced. Later on that day we realized that was not the case. The Hemlocks were grand and there was Rhododendron and Mt. Laurel as well as bright orange Flame Azaleas.

After crossing Stover Creek we decided to stop for lunch at 2:30. The creek had a bridge over it and it looked so refreshing. We had been unable to bath the night before because of the rain, so we wanted to splash in the creek. Marsha and I got into our swim suits and went to the creek. Emma started the stove for coffee and lunch.

The creek was ice cold and we whooped and hollered as the water swirled around our aching feet and we splashed it up onto our hot bodies. I swooped up large amounts of water and got my entire body wet. It felt great! We got up on the bank to lather our hair and bodies, using our water bags to rinse off.

After our bath we went back to the large moss covered log which served as our table and chairs and had our lunch. I believe I had soup that day. While we were eating, Emma went to the creek for her wash. It was a great lunch break and we felt renewed. It didn’t take the mountain long to take that fresh feeling awayl

We followed the trail over rotten looking log bridges stretched over streams running beneath us. We came into the Three Forks area. This area has lots of water, for three streams converge here. One mile from here is the Long Creek Falls. We took our packs off and walked down the trail to see the falls. When we got there the couple from Florida (which we had learned were Matt, Soraya, and dog Mic) were there and had set up their camp right at the foot of the falls. I had wanted to get under a waterfall on this trip but their camp had stopped us from that luxury. We took pictures and teold them we were headed for the Hawk Shelter. This was about 4:30 or 5:00 and the shelter was another 2.6 miles away.

Those last 2.6 miles of this the second day nearly got the best of me. It seemed that I was so hot and my feet were dragging. Emma and Marsha had overtaken me as leader and now I was walking in the drag position. Drag it was, I literally dragged my feet at the bottom of my wooden legs. I was numb, both physically and mentally. I was totally exhausted. I got my little battery operated fan out and my wet wash cloth. I fanned and wiped. They laughed at me, but at this point I really didn’t care! We came upon a campsite and it looked perfect to me and I argued in favor of staying there for the night. It was still .6 tenths to the shelter and I really didn’t think I would make it.

The Sisters were determined to sleep in the shelter that night and I was out voted 2 to 1. So on to the shelter we dragged. I began to have weird thoughts about murder on the trail, me killing them if we didn’t stop soon!!!

Finally the shelter sign came into view and they assured me it was not much further. It was actually .2 tenths of a mile down the side trail to the shelter. When we reached the shelter it looked like home. A sign pointed the way to the water source for the shelter. It was about 400 yards down from the shelter. The shelter had a big picnic table and we enjoyed being able to sit down.

We went to the water right away and had our splash bath and I washed my hair for the second time that day. We cooked on the picnic table and had a great dinner. We moaned around the shelter grounds going about our new routine of surviving in the woods. We were able to get a fire started in the pit after much diligence. All the wood was wet, but someone had left some twigs under the shelter and they were dry.

We arranged our sleeping bags on the first level of the three level shelter. We wanted to be right at the large opening for air and other reasons. The shelter had a mouse population of at least two. We hung all our food up on strings hanging from the rafters left by previous hikers for this purpose. As dark arrived our fire was blazing and we were exhausted. I tried to dry some of my newly washed cloths over the fire. It did help to get the drying process started, but it made them smell like a house on fire. YUK.

We had walked about 7.4 miles and it was around 7:30 pm when we arrived at the Hawk shelter. Marsha gave me a great foot rub. It felt so good and it hurt too. My feet were aching!! Not long after the sun set we retired to our bags. Not long after we retired the mice came out to investigate our belongings. We had our flashlights right beside us and we heard the mice scrapping on our food bags. Marsha and I both spotlighted thmice with our flashlights. Emma said nothing, but watched us as we planned strategy to out do the mice. When the mice walked the tightrope above Marsha’s sleeping bag and climbed down on my food bag I was going to take a swing at it with my walking stick and send it flying into the woods. It was a good plan, but it didn’t work out quite like we wanted. I took a full swing, but all I hit was my food bag, the mouse had already reached the safety of the rafter.

This went on for at least an hour. We finally moved the food bags onto another set of nails hanging off the overhang of the shelter roof. This seemed to work, and we didn’t get any more trouble from the mice. Emma recalled the night with laughter, saying all she could hear was “ there it is get it, over there (scream) it’s gonna fall on me (scream)!!!!’1

The shelter floor was harder than the ground and we hardly slept. Between the mice and the hard floor and aching muscles we woke feeling like we had been hit and run by a Mack Truck.

Upon waking I heard thunder in the distance and the sky was dark. It was about 7 am when the rain started. We cooked our breakfast on the first level of the shelter while it rained. We decided to wait the rain out here in the dry shelter. Soon after we finished our breakfast visitors arrived into our camp. It was The trio we had been exchanging the trail with thus far. The dog Mic entered the camp with a growl.

When we heard the company arriving, Marsha flew out to cover up some business she had left out!! We invited them to share the dry shelter while they cooked their breakfast. They came in and said they had broke their camp at 5:30 am, but the rain had caught them and they were wet.

When Matt tried to light his stove it erupted into flame. The pressure valve was too high. His little cooking pot quickly became black. I used my walking stick to retrieved his pot. He managed to put the fire out and we all breathed a sigh of relief. After eating they went to the stream for water. They were back on the trail before us. We finally left at about 8:30 am.

We had 23 miles to go to Neels Gap. We had looked over our map and decided that we had to shorten our third day of walking. We simply could not do another day of long mileage.
What happens on  DAY THREE?