2: Sarver Hollow to Pickle Branch Shelter

I was the last one to leave the shelter in the morning. Sleep was elusive, and when I finally DID fall asleep, my body evidently decided that the usual 5 hours was quite good enough thanks. So I woke up at 2am, and didn’t sleep again until 5am. I felt ok about my decision to snooze until 7:30 or so, then finally leave the shelter after breakfast in bed. 

What I came to regret, however, was my decision to hike on with just under a liter of water and some reheated tea from the day before. The water source at the shelter was .1 or so away, and it needed a dipper which I didn’t have, and it was just too much effort. I thought it would be fine. 

It was not. I was out of water and drinking cold tea after 2 miles. I had 4 more miles before the next water source. 

I did get some lovely views, however. 

And I found the Eastern Continental Divide (I really have no idea what that means). 

And finally, FINALLY, I found a water source. I threw down my pack and grabbed my bottle and filled it up. I drank half a liter right there, then refilled it and settled in for an early lunch. 

Today’s lunch was a tortilla with crunchy peanut butter and goldfish. It was delicious. I also ate random scavenged bits, including granola cups and chocolate. I was very hungry. 
I drank another liter before I left. 
There were signs of spring all along the trail…

And signs of thru-hikers! Trail magic appeared. 

The day warmed up, and the AT officially welcomed my bright white, pale legs for the first time this year. Hello, shorts!! 

I did some contemplating on a bridge (ok, I was looking for fish. I don’t know why, I just was. Also I was taking pictures, obviously). 

I hiked myself up another hill to a bench and ate some more. 

The next bench was actually .1 N. I’m not sure what it is S, but I know there’s one in TN and that’s probably 300 miles or so, so that’s not an accurate bit of graffiti. 
I walked and ate. 

I walked up to the Audie Murphy memorial. 

And then I walked some more. 

Green and purple and white things were popping out all over the trail. It was lovely! 

I dragged myself up the last mountain before the shelter. Friends, I was hurting. I’ve been trying a different lacing pattern on my shoes to see if that will help some lingering foot pain but it didn’t AND it gave me blisters. My legs hurt, my back hurt, my arms hurt. It was a rough day. 
I made it to the shelter though, and started the .5 down. As I got closer, I noticed a lot of litter on the trail- Walmart stuff. Odd. I picked it up and kept going. And then, at the shelter, were two guys. They sort of nudged each other and pointed at me when they saw me. Odd. There seemed to be more stuff, so I said hello and asked if the shelter was full. A guy in a cutoff button down and jeans stepped forward. 
“Oh, we can move our stuff out of you need to stay there.” I looked around again. A Patagonia black hole bag, gallon jugs of water, a duffel bag…these weren’t hikers. 
“…that’s ok. I’ll tent. Do you know where the water is?”
“The spring? It’s down there. I’ll warn them you’re coming.”
“I mean…I don’t think you need to warn anyone…I’m just going to get water.”
Friends…he should have warned them. I took the steep .1 down to the creek (not a spring) and found 30 dudebros partying it up. I sighed. 
As I filled up all of my water carriers (no way was I coming down here again), some of the dudebros caught sight of me. 
“OOOOOOH hey grade a steak, lets throw it on the grill!

I tried to ignore whatever they were talking about, but there was no grill and no fire, if you get my drift. 
The original dude from the shelter came down. 
I went up to him. “Look, there’s a limit of 10 or fewer for groups on the AT. This is really crappy. Like, REALLY crappy. Also, I think this is yall’s trash. I found it on the trail.”
“Oh, we were going to pick that up on our way out.” 
“No, you pick it up as soon as you drop it. No one wants to look at your trash. That’s how this works.”
I stormed up the hill and went to find a tent site away from them. A nice looking man about my dad’s age had room at his site, so I asked if he’s mine if I joined him. I didn’t quite feel comfortable tenting alone after I confronted the dude. 
Barry, the nice man, was nice, and we had a good time chatting (a nice time chatting, you might say). 

We fell asleep to the sweet sound of the gross dudebros yelling by the creek. 
Miles: 16?
MVP: that sweet water at lunch 

LVP: dudebros 

7 thoughts on “2: Sarver Hollow to Pickle Branch Shelter

  1. Beautiful pictures it looks like Mother Earth is waking up after a long nap, What goodies did you get in your trail magic ?
    Now to the serious stuff. Please be safe. I know you are very smart and have great instincts listen to them and always trust them
    love you

    Liked by 1 person

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