Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Punchbowl Mountain to Long Mountain Wayside

Yesterday turned out to be very slow and easy--a fine day of rest.  We had a few showers in the morning which ended early, but it remained cloudy for the rest of the day.

We went to Rockfish Outfitters after lunch and browsed around.  The only thing I found to buy was a pair of Smartwool hiking socks.  I have never had a pair, but they are the sock of choice for Gene.  My sock of choice has always been Bridgedales.  Once I put a pair on, I’ve never had anything else.  Bridgedales fit my feet snugly and don’t wrinkle inside my boot.  It doesn’t sound like much, but a wrinkle can cause a blister in a hurry.  My feet are small and it’s difficult to find a sock small enough to fit as they say, “Like a glove”.  As much as I like Bridgedale socks, I do have an issue with them.  The cushioning in the sole breaks down after a couple hundred miles and then becomes hard in the laundry.  Gene says the Smartwools don’t do that.  I’m giving them a try.

Bridge over Brown Mountain Creek
We’ve also been experimenting with our lunches on the trail.  When hiking in cold weather we often take a sandwich.  In warm weather, we take cheese and crackers or PB&J.  These days, there are several selections of tuna, chicken, and salmon in the canned meal section at the grocery.  BumbleBee makes a 2-serving can of tuna.  We like the lemon pepper and the sundried tomato flavors.  We’ve also become fans of spreading hummus on flour tortillas.  Yum, Yum.

Suspension bridge over Pedlar River
Our hike today was so easy compared to the previous 11 miles.  I was hiking north and started out downhill for a change.  After descending a thousand feet, I had an easy, nearly flat walk for the next 5 miles before gradually heading up a thousand feet to US 60.  Gene walked south and we met for lunch in the middle.

Brown Mountain Creek
There were a couple highlights of our hike today.  There were three really nice bridges.  It’s always nice to have a footbridge over water.  The suspension bridge over Pedlar River was my morning break spot.  It was an incredible structure.  There were two footbridges over Brown Mountain Creek.  They were both similar.  The one in the photo is at the Brown Mountain Creek Shelter where we had an afternoon break before heading up hill to the road where the truck was parked.

I don’t know for sure about these particular bridges, however, generally the trail clubs build the bridges.  Like trail building, privies, and shelters, it is all done by volunteers.  Thank you again for your hard work.

Another highlight was Pedlar Lake.  This mountain lake serves as the reservoir for the community of Lynchburg.  The AT passes above the lake, but views were limited now that there are so many leaves on the trees.

We followed Brown Mountain Creek upstream for about 2 miles.  This area was once home to freed slaves in the early 1900s.  The remains of stone walls could be seen all along the Creek.  Most were poor share croppers.  They moved out when the land was sold to the forest service in the 1930s.

That’s it for today.

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