Sunday, June 1, 2008

Trail Magic and Tractor Seats

We started this day out with breakfast at Weasie’s Kitchen. We had heard about Weasie’s so naturally we had to try it. It is a diner sort of place and very popular with the hikers. Apparently, it is popular with other folks, as well, because it was about full when we were there this morning. I really can’t say that the food was outstanding, but it was good.

What makes it so popular with the hikers is the large serving sizes. Gene ordered pancakes. There were only three pancakes, but they were huge and he could only eat about half. I ordered biscuits with sausage gravy. The gravy was good, but it was brown gravy and being from the south, that just ain’t right. The prices were very reasonable, also. With a big breakfast in our tummies we were off for our hike.
Towers atop Bear Den Mountain

The hike was very nice and a great morale booster. I hiked north from McCormick Gap up and over Bear Den Mountain. I’m glad I hadn’t noticed the name before the hike. It turns out to be a just about perfect name. There were two things on top of that mountain—an array of 6 communication towers and a huge expanse of blackberry bushes. As I passed by all those blackberry bushes in full bloom this fine day, I said to myself that this will probably be bear heaven in a few weeks.
Odd seeing tractor seats on the trial.

At the last set of towers, I found a curious thing. There was a semicircle of tractor seats seemingly waiting for someone to come along to rest a spell. I could not even imagine a reason for them being there and certainly not for them to be arranged in a semicircle. Strange, indeed.
What a precious gift for thirsty thru-hikers.

After coming down the other side of Bear Den Mountain to Beagle Gap I found trail magic in the form of bottled water. This section of trail goes for several miles from Rockfish Gap to Calf Mountain Shelter without water. I’m sure the thru-hikers passing through Beagle Gap today will be grateful for the trail angel who was so thoughtful.

I met Gene just before Jarmen Gap. After a short break, we pressed on northward. The two climbs over Bear Den and Calf Mountains were the worst of the day so the rest of the hike was pretty pleasant. It was uphill mostly, but not too steep and the mountain laurel was in bloom everywhere. It was like a laurel tunnel almost. Just spectacular.

Our hike ended at Turk Gap. I spread out my poncho on the ground for us to sit on for lunch. I didn’t even have my sandwich out of the bag before I spotted a tick, then another one. I really don’t like ticks so I had my lunch in the truck.

The balls of my feet are still hurting after about an hour of walking. I decided new insoles would help. On our way home I stopped at the outfitters for those. I am anxious to see if this will help on tomorrow’s hike.

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