Twig Adventures

AT Day 78: Dismal Falls

Sunday Oct 10th 2021, 1300-1830                  
Woods Hole Hostel to Dismal Falls, SOBO AT mm 1581.1
12.1 miles
1600 gain, 2525 loss

Mud Lantern was waiting on another hiker to bring him a new headlamp from Pearisburg, so I relented to having another leisurely morning eating a big breakfast and drinking lots of quality coffee. The spread this morning was peach crumble, eggs, grits, fruit salad, and more of that amazing sourdough bread. Even though I ate a hearty dose or 2 of all this, I was hungry again by noon.

The sun came out after some lingering fog, so I went around the place taking pictures. I also fed the goats the scraps from breakfast. I stretched and foam rolled on the porch in the sun while all the cats and dogs did nearly the same. And I fixed Mud’s old headlamp, which was simply stuck on the lockout phase. Finally, well past when we probably should have left, Beach Day texted to say he was nearby with the new headlamp. We said our goodbyes to everyone. I was feeling very glad for the extra time spent at this oasis in the woods, not regretful at all for taking 2 neros and a zero.

On trail, we walked with Beach Day about 7 miles to the first shelter. There was a much faster blue blaze that I could have taken, cutting off many miles and a ridge walk. But as it was such a nice day, we happily went for the miles and views along the ridge. There was a nice view into the valley where Woods Hole sits, so it was worth it. Besides, the alternate (old AT route) supposedly went past the site where a few people were murdered in the 80s…I didn’t want to pick up any bad energy from that.

Mud and I bid adieu to Beach Day at the shelter. I was eager to at least walk until close to dark. We hiked a long flattish stretch that went through more rhododendron tunnels. These had become very prevalent lately. We took a side trail to Dismal Falls, which I felt was an unfair name for a nice creek and falls area. We found Wizard camping there and settled in next to him. It’s nice to be seeing the same SOBOs several times over rather than passing everyone by only once. I finally feel like I have a community of hiker friends around me. This was how the last part of the PCT felt, with a solid core of about 10 SOBOs always within a day of my pace.

I also felt like this day signaled my acceptance of being more social. Granted, there were only 3 of us at camp this night…a number that feels perfect. Dinner was well spent telling stories and playing a game I picked up from reading Zebra’s posts. She’s a PCT alum that I’ve never met still to this day because she’s really fast and always ahead. She started this trail 11 days before me. Even though I’ve managed to mostly keep pace with her, there was no way I’d ever catch her. But with her being ahead, I’ve gained a lot of insights about the trail to come.

The game was to give examples of questionable hiker habits and decide as a group if such actions were gross or not gross in following with the lower standards we hikers adapt to. We altered the lingo for our game since I gave a definitive example of something that’s always gross and that’s a NOBO. So the game became NOBO or not NOBO. It was a team-building exercise for us SOBOs that left us all nearly rolling on the ground. It was a fun way to end an easy day. We’d resume crushing miles the next day. Sorry, I didn’t really take any pictures this day, except of the hostel.

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