My body naturally wakes up between 7:00 and 7:30 now which is rather irritating because even though I wake up then, the rest of me says NO! Too early, and I go back to sleep. I set my alarm for 8am last night so that was my backup plan. I went downstairs around 8:30 for breakfast and was rather disappointed when all I saw was cereal, bread, and yogurt. I put two slices of bread in the toaster and a women came out and asked me if I would like eggs, YES PLEASE! Ok, all is good now-I've got my eggs. I grabbed a nature valley, chewy, and a packet of oatmeal for the trail. And sat down with my two slices of wheat toast with honey, scrambled eggs, apple juice, and yogurt. I was the only one down there. After eating, I had to finish business back up in the room-I called two shuttles in the AWOL book. The first one said her husband does the shuttles and he should be back around 10:30 to try then...ok...the second one said it would be pricey since it was far and gave me the number of the first guy I tried. I went online to the Appalachian Trail Conservation website with a listing of shuttles by state and called 7 or so; most were disconnected or didn't answer. Cool. I washed my pump filter in the sink, and then got a text from Dexter! Seems like he was just getting into town-so I didn't miss him! He was picking up his package at the post office, and had stuff to mail back, and was going to grab lunch and stay at the first shelter. I let him know I stayed at the hotel last night and he is welcome to shower before I checkout. My plan was to do 13.7 miles today as part of my planned schedule to get me to the hostel for Sunday; it's still doable-I have left camp at 10:30 before and done 15 miles, but I am still trying to take it easy so hopefully I can get it done at my new careful pace-if not, I get to the hostel for Monday. No big deal really. So after letting Dexter shower, my shuttle ride showed up and off I went. We drove to the road where the trailhead would be and came across a sign that said private property, and then one that said violators will be prosecuted...so we turned around. Maybe it is down the other end of the road? We drove down that way and didn't come across anything either. We asked a town worker on a tractor and he was clueless. After deciding to go back where the directions told us, and the signs were posted we drove on. We ain't stopping unless the shotgun came out. We continued on and came to a state forest sign; meaning these folks just put up signs for the hell of it and legally can't claim state land. We headed up the dirt forest road, and drove-and drove, and drove some more. It was less than 5 miles but on a dirt, bumpy road; it felt like forever. Dodging potholes and watching the time get later and later I just wanted to spot a blaze. My driver didn't help with her wanting cigarettes and worrying about never finding the trail head. Are we there yet? Finally I look to the left, I look to the right-and is that? Yup! A blaze, let me out! I said my goodbyes and paid my dues and I was off (not before a photo of course.) It was now after noon and I was setting up the mountain, the afternoon was foggy and didn't provide a view but it was a good temperature and I didn't mind. I came across another lovely big black snake...that's always fun. The terrain after the mountain was nice, and then I came up on the old schoolhouse and that is always a fun time to come across history right on the trail. I entered the schoolhouse and inside it looked immaculate. There were also sodas, water, and sweet treats. After grabbing a water and a Dr. Pepper (mom would be jealous!) I carried on and saw a gorgeous red barn in the hills and then I saw civilization. I hiked down right on a main highway pull off and saw the barn restaurant-seems I made it to Atkins! That was quick. I looked at the map and the time and realized I only had 2.8 miles to my original plan, a late lunch was in order. I went inside to find Sog and sat with him. He had already eaten so I called my mom quick, ordered a club sandwich and green beans, and topped off the charge on my phone. After eating, charging, and getting water I pushed on down the side of the main road to the highway. The trail connected back through the grass on the right and back in I went away from vehicles and power and an abundance of people. I crossed through some fields and the trail went right through where some cattle were grazing. I walked up to them expecting them to take off but they didn't, would they care? Would they be aggressive? Some got a little affraid of me but mostly weren't interested. I hit the quarter mile mark of my trip and decided to push on passed the campsite I planned on to look for a stealth one. Coming up a hill I found a campsite right to the left and decided to pitch for the night.
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