Thursday, May 16th, 2019
Aunt Cheryl made us breakfast in the morning. A tasty combo of eggs, toast, bacon, berries, and grits for Frisbee. I’m a full fledged Yankee. No grits for me, please!
She drove us back to Heflin in the afternoon, and we stopped by City Hall. We finally got to meet Shane, a very animated guy who’s very passionate about the Pinhoti Trail. I was glad we got a chance run into him.
We talked to him for a while, then we went with Aunt Cheryl to Flora’s Table to eat lunch. As we suspected, the food was delicious. After lunch, we tracked down Tasty Dip, which was recommended by the locals, to ice off our meal with some ice cream.
Sadly, it was time to return to the trail. We really enjoyed our visit with Aunt Cheryl. To make us less motivated, it was hot and muggy out. We had been blessed with some nice weather prior to our visit.
We trudged on through Choccolocco Wildlife Management Area where the trail left off. My shoes would lose traction as we climbed hills covered in slick pine needles.
Then I’d come face to face with my kryptonite, wild blueberries. Frisbee hated blueberry bushes ever since we were surrounded by them while hiking through New England on the Appalachian Trail. I stopped at every bush, shoving copious amounts of blueberries in my mouth and stock piling more in my water bottle, making it hard for us to do big miles. This time he was in luck. Most of the berries weren’t ripe yet, so it was only a short pit stop.
Then I’d become faced with another interference in our hike, and by ‘faced’, I mean ‘face first’ in mud. I was straddling over a water source and filling up my bottle. When I went to leap back to the trail, my foot hit a patch of mud which made me slip. I practically belly flopped in a mud pit. So much for having clean clothes. At least I got to enjoy my cleanliness for a few hours since we started hiking.
After rinsing off my face, my arms, my legs, and my clothes, we got to appreciate some wildflowers. What we didn’t appreciate were the mass amount of ticks that we frequently had to pick off of our legs. I was beginning to learn the names of all the different varieties as I saw them. Brown Dog ticks, Lone Star ticks, and my favorite, the teeny tiny Deer ticks.
We heard thunder as a storm cloud hovered over our heads. I was almost disappointed that it didn’t rain which would have relieved us from some of the humidity. We’d hear the thunder continue as we hiked all the way to Lower Shoals Shelter, where we took a power nap.
After resting a few minutes, we crossed several streams and followed the single track to Pine Glen Campground, where we ate dinner. We had planned on staying there for the night, but you had to pay to stay there. With no amenities, not even a water source available, we decided to move on. It would have been a complete waste of money.
We realized that it had rained after all, we just had been hiking behind it the entire time. the soil and vegetation were wet as we followed the flat path along the creek to our camp site for the night near mile 127.3.
I was pleased to see fireflies, which I haven’t seen in some time now, as we set up. We did a quick tick check before hopping in the tent. As soon as we got settled, a whippoorwill did what a whippoorwill does and caused a racket the entire night. Although it was brief and light, we also heard rain drops hitting the roof of our tent as we slipped out of consciousness.
15.9 miles (25.6 km)