Over the course of this trip, I’ve seen half a dozen snakes, usually small ones that I assumed were harmless. In the past couple of days, my friends have seen a rattler and two copperheads right on the trail. I guess it’s getting warm out. The lady at the winery told us that copperheads will swallow all their babies when they sense danger; then when you shoot their heads off, thirty to forty babies pop out. So that’s extra terrifying. Not that I have the means to shoot a snake’s head off, but still. I have been extra wary on the trail and now every stick and root looks like a snake.
This morning, I meant to get up early and get up the big mountain before it got too hot out. It rained overnight though and packing up a wet tent does not motivate me to get up so I did not get my early start. I got over the small Lynn Camp Mountain fairly quickly then took a break at a gravel road where tons of moths and butterflies were hanging out. I recently read “Freckles” and “A Girl of the Limberlost” out here so I pay more attention to insects now.
I finally got headed up the big climb to Chestnut Knob. It was so humid out and the first half of the climb was steep. I made it up to a clearing on the ridgeline and took a long break to dry out my tent, eat lunch, and play mandolin. Eventually we could see the storm that was on the next ridge moving over though so we packed up and headed to the shelter at the top. It’s enclosed completely and even has a door, with bunks and a table inside, so it’s a good place to wait out rain. The rain never came though, just moved on by. We could see other storms in a few different directions, including the one we were headed in, but we decided we’d probably end up following just behind it and to go for it.
The next ten miles over Garden Mountain were fairly rocky and it sprinkled on and off, which was actually quite nice. We stopped at a road to make dinner and had some sodas courtesy of Captain Dan and Tank who are slackpacking, and a fire courtesy of some section hikers. Then back down the trail to make it to Jenkins Shelter just before dark. I must have been going slower than I thought because I thought I missed the shelter somehow and was starting to look for campsites when I finally saw the sign. It started raining again just as I set up inside. I ran to use the privy before bed and found that not only did it have no roof, always nice in the rain, but it had no walls either. Fun.
18.5 miles today. My feet are sore but my knees are surprisingly okay.