By mid afternoon I reached the campsite where my father was parked. When I opened the door to go inside I saw "Tarzan" sitting up in the RV. He had been hiking with his aunt and uncle the past couple days and just ran into my pops at the campsite. We sat and shot the breeze for a few minutes, but he was itching to get back on the trail unencumbered. After he left I took off my shoes and realized how bad my foot had swollen up. Uggh. Sausage foot.
My dad accompanied me for the first mile out of the campsite and he put forth a mighty effort on the giant mountain that he made it to the top of, but I soon was on my own again. The trail was pretty mild to start off, but there was thunder rumbling in the distance. I kept a good pace all day and made it to High Tower hut hours before dark. Two other thru hikers showed up and two other guys just out for a couple days, but the highlight was a young fella who showed up late. He was carrying two knapsacks filled to bursting, a large strange red pillow thing and what really made it odd was the metal detector sticking out of the top. I gave him the benefit of the doubt and assumed he was just out for a few days to look for buried treasure, but someone asked how long he was out for and he replied "I'm going all the way down to Georgia. This is my first time hiking and I figured why not just go all the way, ya know." To his credit he started asking questions like, "Can I plug my lap top in around here somewhere?" and "How many pairs of jean you all carrying? I only got four." He then started unpacking one of his knapsacks and sure enough it was filled with jeans and button down dress shirts. I can't give him too much crap because he was asking for ways to lighten up his load, he said one of knapsacks wasn't that heavy, but the other one weighed a ton.
When morning came we named him "Metal Detector", said that he was gonna make everyone traveling north's day and with that he was off. I looked down at my feet and was horrified to see that again that my left foot looked like a damn sausage. Whatever. I threw my shoes on and started hiking again.
Again, there was deep rolls of thunder echoing in distance as I walked along high ridge lines with views to the valleys below. Late in the morning I was climbing up the side of mountain when I had a feeling that I was being watched. I picked my gaze up from the trail directly in front of me and glanced off into the bushes. A bear!!! It charged. Fast as lightning it closed the distance between us and leapt at me. I reacted quickly and sidestepped his strike while bringing my trekking pole down across his muzzle. He let out a groan, shook his head, turned toward me and let out a blood curdling growl complete with saliva dripping from his fangs. I had to act quick, so as he was still growling I lunged forward and poked him a trekking pole. It wasn't hard, but fast. He stopped mid growl with a confused look. Taking the advantage I poked him again. And then again. Then I walloped him hard on the head. His confidence shaken, he backed up. I took the space with a spinning round house trekking pole slice and caught him on the side of the head. This time he looked shaken. So I threw down my poles and unsheathed my pocket knife. With a flick of my wrist it was ready for action. I met the bear in a deadly embrace. He was strong, but I clearly had the advantage. I drove my blade under his rib cage and he dropped. He lay in a clump at my feet. I rolled him over and sliced a hole in his chest where I removed his heart and took a bite.
Okay none of that happened, but that is what runs through my head sometimes as I plod along. The day was long stretches of level terrain with occasional uphills. Right before I reached the Big Meadow camp ground, where my day was ending I came to a beautiful overlook.
~Frenchy (aka Sausage Toes Magee)