Saturday, June 6, 2009
Saturday dawned clear and noticeably warmer than the previous overcast day. By the time I had walked just three miles I was sweatier than I had been the previous day, despite the ease of the first mile of travel on an old smooth roadbed.
I continued moving along, enjoying water stops at creeks and streams, and stopping to check out an old truck hull that looked to have been left alongside the trail decades ago.
By the afternoon, the heat was kicking in as I began the 1200 foot climb to the main ridgeline adjoining Cheaha Mountain and State Park. I took my time, stopping for a few moments frequently and cooling off. I was happy to note that despite the heat and climbing, my lungs were doing fine. Still, despite drinking more than a gallon of water already this day, I was pushing sweat out of my body like a hydraulic pump.
When I reached the intersection to the Bald Rock Trail into Cheaha State Park, I knew I was done climbing for the day and close to home.
A Ľ mile later, I dropped my pack at Blue Mountain Shelter.
I headed back down the trail to gather water at the happily flowing spring and returned to set up my hammock near the shelter.
Graffiti and register entries mentioned the shelter was “spooked”, and that strange noises could be heard at night. It was another of many reasons I was glad to camp near the amenities of a shelter, while still enjoying the comfort of my hammock. Dinner was excellent (Chicken and stuffing with gravy) as I enjoyed a pleasant kitchen and dining room.
Due to the higher altitude, the evening cool sank below me and I slept a bit warm in my hammock, but still I enjoyed hearing hickory nuts drop to the ground and squirrels run about and I wondered if these accounted for some of the “spooked” noises as I drifted to sleep.