Our starting point for the hike was the Heart of Appalachia Information Center. We needed directions there and we were on the phone with our mom trying to get there. She couldn't find it on Google or Mapquest and we got a bit frustrated with her. We like, come on it's an information center...Did you search for an information center? Likewise she was frustrated with us. We finally found it and when we got there it was all too clear. I'm shocked that this bustling info center, or should I say a shack with a couple brochures, was not on Google. Sorry Mom!
This was by far the hardest hike that I have ever done. You would hike this massive, steep hill (mind you with about 35 pounds strapped to your back) and you'd feel great that you made it up. Then you'd walk 5 steps and descend down a massive, steep hill. Repeat this process ten or so times a day and that's Pine Mountain Trail! I got to the point that the uphills weren't that bad, but the down hills felt like my toenails were being torn off my feet. My sister just kept saying where's the flat part. (She used to nice flat Delaware) I kept telling here that it's called Pine Mountain Trail for a reason. It wasn't well marked either which was really frustrating.
We did have a great time though! Despite the difficulty of the trail there was lots of frolicking and singing on the trail. My favorite was story of the trip happened on the first day. We sat to eat a delicious lunch of cheese sandwiches... ooh ahh how exciting...when I noticed that my sister had brilliantly packed 8 slices of bread for 4 lunches for 2 girls. She forgot that a sandwich takes 2 slices of bread...I guess. We were two days short on lunch. Fear not, we most definitely did not starve. On the contrary, we had loads of food. Weeks before we left I started dehydrating like a champ. We packed ingredients for french toast, southwestern omelets, hot cereal, spaghetti with italian biscuits, minestrone soup, mashed potatoes, hash browns, lentil-bulgur chili, and loads of snacks (including of course chocolate, dried pineapple and the obligatory Cliff bars). In fact, it's entirely possible that we gained weight, well maybe not.
The first night in the tent, it was windy and there was an animal crawling around our tent. Now, bears don't scare me when I'm hiking, but when you are in a tent and can't see what's around you that's a different story. We found out the next day that there was a dog around the campsite, at night it sounded a lot bigger! To lighten the mood I got out my Ocarina that I bought in Alaska. It's basically a small clay flute. I played Home, home on the range, somewhere over the rainbow, and jingle bells while Kate sang along (I'm surprised her singing didn't scare off that dog roaming around). By the way, sing to yourselves home, home on the range and see if you can pick out what's wrong about this song, the biologists in Kate and I couldn't help but notice.
The worst thing that happened was forgetting my knitting! Ugh, I can't believe I forgot it! Also, Kate got blisters the size of a silver dollar piece on her heel. It was really gross! We made it off the mountain though and had fun doing it, which felt great!
Happy Friday the 13th!