Date- February 17, 2020
Location- Top of Mountain?
Distance Traveled Today- 16.2 miles
Distance Traveled Total- 39.4 miles
Weather/Temp- Overcast, misty, 50s,60s
Pain level- zero
Wildlife encounters- Dogs, hawks
Days without shower- 4
Days without laundry- 4
It was an overcast morning that lingered all day. Nathan had me back on trail by 7:30 am. I still had 5 miles of road walking before I’d be back in the woods.
As far as road walks go, it was fairly uneventful and mundane…fairly. There were dogs, but the dogs on these roads were mostly well behaved– mostly.
Early on, a medium sized brown mutt approached me from the bottom part of his driveway. It stopped just shy of the road to watch us pass. He didn’t bark or make a noise, but watched in silence from the boundary of his property. I couldn’t help but notice a very long, thick, hairless scar on its body. It ran from almost between his shoulder blades down to nearly the base of his tail. I don’t know what could have happened to him, but I did know this… somebody really loved that dog.
There was less than a mile left on the road walk. As I was passing by a farmhouse with a huge field separating it from the the street, a beige colored mutt spotted me from across the field. It let out a bark before taking off full speed across the field, but it wasn’t coming after me. It was running a couple hundred yards ahead of me to cut off a curve in the road and head me off. Then, he took up a post at the beginning of another driveway and waited for me to get there. He was literally going back to defend home base.
After barking wildly at me as I passed by, it then sprinted up the long uphill driveway out of sight. Less than a minute later, he was sprinting back down the hill through the woods with two other bigger dogs! The hell hound had retrieved reinforcements! Emboldened by each other’s presence, two of the three attempted to mount charges. I thwarted their approach by moving towards them when they moved towards me. Most dogs don’t seem to like it when you face them. They much prefer to approach and charge when you’re looking away or your back is turned. So keep that in mind.
Bare Trees and Quietude
Once the trail merged into the woods and off the road, I didn’t see another dog or person for the rest of the day. The trail meandered through gaps, ravines, and across wooded ridge-lines for the next 11 miles. Aside from the evergreens, it’s a skeleton forest here. The trees won’t bloom for another month or so, granted we don’t have unseasonably cold temperatures hanging around consistently.
Katana did amazingly well, as usual. She only got around 3 miles out of 16 today, but they were strong miles. They weren’t done in continuous, or even big chunks, but rather a bunch of small ones. The trail had no shortage of obstacles for her to navigate. I could only let her tackle them for so long before needing to pick her up and recover some distance.
I called it a day around 4 pm, after completing 16 miles. The mist hanging in the air was getting thicker, and I was a mile away from a 14 mile dry stretch. Rather than descend to the last water, I decided to stay up a little higher and knock out the dry stretch tomorrow.
I’m on day four, and still further than I was on day four of my AT and Florida Trail hikes. I feel good about our progress so far, but I’m trying not to be down about the dismal weather forecast I’ve been monitoring. The next three days look absolutely miserable. Hopefully they’re not as bad as forecasted…