Sunday, April 26, 2009


(From Ellie's journal, April 18)

Yayyy! Sally got to NOC about lunchtime yesterday, all hale and hearty and bubbling over with trail and shelter adventures. when I saw her I sat down and burst into tears. I told her how worried I'd been: to my vision, she'd been missing. She enthused about her hike and I protested about my trauma, neither of us relating. Finally she told me to get over it so I did.
Too late to start hiking so we camped. The same beautiful unofficial campsite, which I'd shared each night with whatever group of people I'd told about it, and occasionally someone who saw our campfires and came on up. It was on such a steep hill that there was a rope to climb up.

It had been some kind of estate - the whole hilltop was covered with English Ivy, underneath which were remains of a stone house, a mansion really. Big old climbing vines, big enough to swing on, turned out to be roses. climbing roses. I saw the leaves. That old, that huge. Wodden vines an inch in diameter. It must have been beautiful as an estate and I'd love to see those roses in bloom.
today we got underway once more. climbed up, up, up....3000ft elevation change over 8 miles. We were nervous for a while about what looked and smelled like a forest fire, watching the smoke, checking the wind, watching the reactions of birds and animals, who remained unconcerned. Turned out it was a controlled 200 acre burn in the Smokies, someone learned somehow.
So now we're camped after going down, down, down, six tents here, one hammock, 3 girls, 4 guys. Sally and I agree on a meeting point if we get ahead of each other, when one of us reaches that point, she does not proceed until the other has arrived. No more separation anxiety for me. I was ready to call out an App. Trail Comission search party for a missing hiker.
Miles today: 10.5, 6 hours including breaks.
Total miles so far: 163.7
Miles to go: 2032.8
Marathons down 5.5
Marathons to go:77.8
My pack weight at NOC, including 4 days of food and 36oz of water, was 26.5 pounds.

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