Location- Side of dirt road
Elevation- 3,700 ft
Distance Traveled Today- 19.4 miles
Distance Traveled Total- 68.4 miles
Injuries- chafe, sore pinky toe, cut nose
Pain level- sore feet
Spirits/Morale- High but tired
Days without shower- 5
It got very windy early this morning, waking me up around 5 am, and keeping me up until I decided to crawl out of the hammock and break camp.
I kept Katana off leash again as we maintained a steady walk. Today was a rough one for both of us, but filled with a few more animal encounters than what we’ve previously had.
A few miles in, a crow flew over us with a lizard in its mouth. It sucked the whole thing down as it glided on the breeze, just to the right of us.
Around the ten mile mark, close to noon, Katana stopped walking. We sat down and had lunch. I thought about taking a siesta, but after an hour, it still wasn’t too terribly hot, so I thought I’d see if she would hike.
As we got going, I noticed Katana had a little hitch in her step. I picked her up and examined her paws. One of the toe pads on her front right paw had a little discoloration, as well as what looked like a very small indentation. I put pressure on it and she winced. I put pressure on her other pads and she didn’t flinch, confirming that this indentation was the source of her troubles. I couldn’t tell if it was a cut, Crack, blister, or what, but there was no way I was going to let her walk on it and make it worse before I found out. I put her up on my shoulders, opened up my sun umbrella to shield the both of us, and kept hiking.
I caught up with Schweppes, and we continued on together. At one point, the sound of buzzing grew louder and louder, to the point that I thought we were walking by a hive. Then simultaneously, we both noticed the ground darken, and we looked up. Thousands of bees were flying in a large but tight swarm, directly over top of us. They passed over completely in several seconds and continued across the mountain. I’d never seen anything like it. The buzzing was incredibly loud. I can only guess they were searching for a new place to colonize. I’ve only ever seen that many bees on an already established hive, not moving all at once to some new location.
I set Katana down at one point to chase a horny toad lizard that ran off the trail. I haven’t seen, nor caught one since I was about 11 years old, living in central California. It was very nostalgic to see and catch one.
After around 4 miles straight of carrying Katana in the early afternoon, Schweppes and I plopped down with another middle aged male hiker named “Two Shoes,” and waited out the rest of the afternoon under his tarp.
We got moving around 5:30 pm and hiked another 6 miles to a dirt road that had a water tank next to it. Two of those miles were done in the dark, lit by the light of the nearly full moon.
At the end of the day, I had carried the little dog for more than nine miles straight. I was totally whooped and more than a little distraught about this new predicament. We have another nine miles until we can get to a road that will take us to an RV campground, and also close to the trail angel’s house where I left my car.
No trees, so I’m sleeping on the ground again, Katana curled up next to my head. It’s only day 5, but already I can feel myself recapturing that state of mind that I finished the Appalachian Trail with. Regardless of the challenges and difficulties that I’m already facing, and that are still sure to come, I’m still very much enjoying myself, and somewhat maniacally looking forward to more. Although I am anxious to work out this mess with Katana.