I tried to hide the sunlight by pulling my beanie over my head, but it was suboptimally effective. I eventually succumbed to consciousness and I dragged myself inside the hostel from my tent.
Pancakes were an ordeal that morning. I’ve never seen pancakes butchered before but Sunshade accomplished it. Corndog was next but people in Wales don’t make pancakes (Corndog is bloody Welsh btw) and his batter was as runny as milk. Hot Feet’s were amateur at best. I take immense pride in my pancakes. Batter consistency needs to be on point, pan heated to the right temperature, and cooked just to a crisp golden brown (chefs kiss).
After pancakes we listened to people play guitar for about an hour. The next time for shuttles to trail were at 11 or 4. I wasn’t going to make the 11 and a shuttle at 4 seemed super late. A weekend hiker staying at the hostel ended up giving me a ride to trail.
Once dropped off, the uphill trail did not delay. The grade was pretty consistent but I seemed to make quick work of it. I ran into Sultry and Groundhog on the way up and met other hikers named “Huck Finn” and “CBS.”
After a little over an hour we started to emerge about the alpine tree line. Above the trees we could see mountains in every direction. Unobstructed views were seen along the whole Francoonia ridgeline. It was a larger than life moment to hike the ridgline. It was fascinating to see the trail unfold from atop the mountain crest.
The wind whipped the hillside with 30-50 mph gusts. The wind chill was apparent if you stood still for too long. I quickly put on my puffy and that was sufficient to keep me warm. The ridge line starts with a summit of Mt Lincoln and then Mt Lafayette. You can see the trail as the mountain top curves and spans between the two summits. I walked the ridge line trail from 3-6PM.
The chilling wind had picked up and I had 3 miles left to head down and to a campsite. Once back below the shelter of the tree line I warmed up. I got to a stealth campsite near a pond just before sundown. The comments on FarOut said there was room for 3-4 tents. When I arrived there was probably 5 tents and at least 3 hammocks already set up.
I was surprised to find Hot Feet, Neo, Toto, Mudbag, and Huck Finn, among others. I squeezed into the last spot that looked reasonable. A quick dinner was had and I cozied up with extra clothes to turn in for a cold night at moderately high elevations. Overall it wasn’t a ton of miles, but considering the views, it was worth taking my time.
There were a ton of photos that didn’t make the cut for this blog. Follow on Instagram @Barkleycharles for more.
Stow away in my pack for day 139 on the Appalachian Trail
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