I was hiking before 7am. It was a clear morning and the sun is rising earlier each day, I think sunrise was around 6.15am.
Shogun (No Balls) set off first, then myself then Delicate Flower. We all walked alone and to the beat of our own drums today. The morning started with the trail passing through farmland. Long green grassy fields and rolling hills. It looked like a while since the cattle had been in these paddocks.
The farmers fields went in for about 10 miles before we started the long climb to the top of Chestnut Knob. I sat in a grassy field with views over the farmland valley below. I took some side detours for a bathroom break and to Springs for water. I had no idea if the others were ahead or behind. I rested almost an hour then assumed they were ahead of me.
For the rest of the day the trail followed rocky ridgelines devoid of water. I was a little dehydrated when I reached a spring mid afternoon. It was a hot day, maybe 85F. The 2 litres of water I drank felt so good. The map showed water 5 miles ahead to I filled up with half a litre to get me there.
The trail was rocky and there was little rest from either going up a small hill or down a small hill. We call them PUDS, Pointless Ups and DownS. I drank my half litre of water when I arrived at the next water, I learned it was half a mile of trail down a steep hill. I looked at my map and found water a further 3 miles along the trail so decided to keep going.
While at the trail junction a girl mentioned seeing a bear on the side trail to the water, nearby to the Appalachian Trail. It was a mother with 2 Cubs. Only a couple of minutes earlier I was overcome with a strange smell and rustling in the bushes. All my senses told me it was a bear, except my sight. To date I seem to be the only person who hasn’t seen a bear.
It was getting late when I arrived at Jenkins Shelter. I expected to see Delicate Flower and Shogun (No Balls), but they were not there. I guess they were behind me. I set up my tent and ate at least 1000 calories before heading to bed. The others didn’t show up.