03 September 2016

Campsite Near Davis Hollow to Knot Maul Branch Shelter (AT Day 2, Fall 2016)

Appalachian Trail, 12.6 miles

I realized this morning after looking at my data book that yesterday was one of the longest days of the trip. I'm kind of glad I didn't know that at the time I was hiking it.

I was a little cold last night in my hammock (my ten-dollar fleece was definitely put to good use). Wondering now if I should have brought even more layers.

I like the way my hammock elevates my feet; it's helpful to even out my circulation after a long day of hiking. No blisters yet.

I took a welcome break at around mile 8, which was Old Rich Valley Road. I had to climb a fence stile into a pasture, and right on the other side of the stile was a nice big tree, so I had a snack and then lay down at the base of the tree, with my feet propped up on the tree trunk. I'm not sure how long I was asleep, but I woke up to the sound of a very loud snorting sound, and opened my eyes to see about a dozen cows staring at me. They seemed a little too curious for my comfort. When they started nibbling at my pack and nodding and mooing at me, I hastily packed up and moved on. I was glad when they didn't follow me.

There were lots of climbs and descents today. I am pretty well spent. My feet feel sore but stable. I did, however, start noticing a weird pain in my left knee today. I've never really had knee issues, so I'm not sure what that's about. I'm keeping an eye on it. It's mild but definitely noticeable, especially on downhills.

I've also been watching my hand and wrist where I brushed against that poison-ivy-looking plant yesterday. So far, no signs of anything worrisome.

One-quarter of the way? Are you even kidding me right now?
I passed a makeshift sign nailed to a tree today, declaring that I was one-quarter of the way done with the Appalachian Trail. I don't know whether I should laugh or cry. This seems like an awful lot of work and suffering to only be a quarter of the way through.

I was going to stay tonight at a campsite where the trail crosses VA42, but I decided to push on another couple miles to Knot Maul Shelter, because I really don't like staying near road crossings. There is another couple here from New York; they are southbounders. There is also a stray dog; it looks to be a hunting dog from the collar it's wearing (it has a number on the collar rather than a name). There is no cell service here at all, else we would try to reach her owner. She seems pretty happy to stay here with us I think.

I decided to sleep in the shelter tonight rather than my hammock. This will speed my pack-up time in the morning, and it will likely be a little warmer than my hammock was last night. The other couple is tenting, so I have the shelter to myself. I hope there are no mice.

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