Sunday, May 26th, 2019
We crossed paths with so many mountain bikers. Most of them were nice enough to slow down or had impeccable control of their bikes, but others, not so much. A few nearly ran us over, and one was unable to slow down because she lost control and almost wreaked. I’m pretty sure she was new to the sport. I wasn’t complaining though. These mountain bikers were the reason why this trail was so well maintained and also the reason why we weren’t silk blazing right now!
I had my head down as I was scratching my arm and smashed my head into a blow down. Oddly enough, I was currently not wearing my hat backwards, which I usually do when in the thick of the woods for that very reason. My head hurt, but I had to laugh. I ran my head into a tree day one on this trail and the Pinhoti felt that I should exit it in the same fashion. I couldn’t wait to be on the Benton MacKaye Trail (BMT)!
We had to cross a whole lot of streams, well, sort of. Frisbee has to win the husband of the year award. Since my feet blister up so quickly when they get wet, he offered to carry me across, ALL of them! One of the streams we took a snack break at before we finished the Pinhoti Trail once and for all.
The last stretch was covered in debris, and Frisbee told me later after he had hiked ahead that he found himself face-to-face with a bear cub. They both apparently scared one another and the cub ran off. Frisbee was taken by surprise, then found himself nervous that mamma bear might be nearby. We love running into bears, so long as its not a sow and her cubs!
We made the steep climb to the highest point on Pinhoti Trail, which was unmarked, then hiked down the gravel road. On my way, I saw a bear myself, but it was down the hill from where I was hiking and didn’t seem to notice me.
Then we were done! We made it to the Pinhoti/BMT intersection and we’d be starting the BMT at mile 217.7 southbound. First, we decided to take a nice long lunch break. Sadly we were attacked by flies the whole time and were surrounded by the sights and smells of horse shit.
As soon as we started our journey along the BMT, we saw a Jeep driving towards us. Now I knew for certain this stretch of trail didn’t allow cars. It probably didn’t allow any motorized vehicles for that matter, so I stared at the guy with utter amazement, especially when he stopped in the middle of the trail to chat.
“You guys can go ahead.”
“Well, we can’t because you’re in the middle of the trail.”
Then he continued driving, totally oblivious to the fact that he shouldn’t be there. I shook my head.
I’d be even more amazed when I saw yet ANOTHER vehicle driving towards us. This time it was a brand new pickup truck with temporary tags. We’d see the damage left behind as we continued hiking.
We continued on South Fork before the BMT branched off, then hiked to the top of Flattop Mountain.
We had another climb out of Halloway Gap then bumped along Fowler Mountain until we reached Hatley Gap. We decided to stop there for the night.
As soon as we started to set up shop, Frisbee complained about pain in his knee. His foot was suddenly swollen and he wondered what could be contributing to it given that he didn’t get injured on the way there. Aside from that, Frisbee and I were glad to be finally done with the Pinhoti Trail and happy to be taking the BMT back to Springer Mountain where it all began 3 years ago.
23.0 miles (37.0 km)