Saturday- 17.0 miles
Mason has joined me for this one. My pack weighed almost nothing thanks to that weight distribution! (by almost nothing, I mean about 16 pounds.) We got down to Black Bear Lodge in RRG at 1 am because I forgot to put the 5lb drop bag in the car. I realized this after driving for 45 minutes. We couldn't go without sleeping bags, so we had to turn around and add 1.5 hours to our drive. So frustrating. Off to a rocky start. We got a few hours of sleep and rushed over to the Park n Ride to catch the shuttle. The shuttle ride was beautiful. It was going to be a cool, sunny day- perfect hiking weather. We started off hiking on old forest roads until we met back up with the official trail on top of a ridge. This part of the Trace was becoming more and more Gorge-like: rhodo, mountain laurel, rock formations, and higher and barer ridge-tops. Mason seemed to be enjoying himself- hiking as fast as he can in front of me, of course. It was really an enjoyable part of the trail. We endured a short 2 miles of road walking, and then back into the forest and into Clifton Creek. The trail was actually in the creek. I avoided getting my feet wet, though. We found a nice spot to stop for lunch and listen to the babbling brook. The creek bed is a sea-green blue-ish shale that makes the water look blue. The water itself is really quite clear. We passed another sign that we were nearing the Gorge- a rock shelter. This one had graffiti in it and a stream of water going over the top. Mason itched to move on, but I stayed for a minute and took pictures. We had a few more miles of road walking until we reached Corner Ridge. We were on pretty exposed land here. It was super windy. At least it was sunny, that's all I can say. We passed some farms and houses and walked through a major intersection. Back to country roads again and to the Corner Ridge Trailhead. I was so exhausted, I decided to look for a campsite to pitch the tent and come back for the 5lb drop later. I wasn't sure where the fire would be as I missed the campsite we were supposed to take. We ended up walking about a quarter mile down the trail- I didn't realize thats how far it was from where we were supposed to set up. We passed out for a few hours and woke up stiff and sore. My foot had a twinge in it- that did not feel good. I started to walk back towards camp and felt my foot giving me some real pain. I thought it would be better eventually that evening. We sat around the fire for a few minutes and got water before hobbling back to the tent. It was kind of a restless night because the moon was so bright and there were some really loud, creaky trees nearby. But, I heard the whippoorwills! The sign of spring in the Gorge!
After hearing a few other people go by, we woke up and packed our packs and headed down the trail still in a haze. The pain in my foot was awful! I just couldn't imagine hiking 10 miles on it. I was seriously struggling! There were some other "pros" to bailing on the second day, so we went back to the trailhead to wait for Steve to come get us and bring us back to our car. The sunrise was beautiful over the Hess' Hickory Farm. I got out my camera and tried to capture the dew shining on the bright green grass. I don't feel defeated easily. I know I will have a great time making up this section when my foot heals. Hopefully its nothing too serious.
Sheltowee Trace National Recreation Trail
This trail is 333 miles long running from Morehead, KY to Oneida, TN. These blogs are about my experiences backpacking this trail. I've hiked every section at least once and was a class of 2019 Hiker Challenge participant.