I awoke in the middle of the night to a pack of coyotes yipping and howling not too far from me – but just far enough that I wasn’t concerned. It was very a cool thing to listen to. Ahhh, nature. And then someone’s dog started to bark in reply. And another. Soon after they quieted down I was back asleep. This went on throughout the night. At midnight I woke up, enjoying the late-night wildlife serenade once again, but this time I wasn’t able to fall back asleep. I actually contemplated getting up and making a small campfire just for something to do. I think I finally fell back asleep around 2am. I woke up feeling rested, though. I think I get my best sleep on the trail. And as it turns out, even alone in the tent. I wasn’t freaked out at all any of the nights I was out there. This makes me so happy. Or maybe I’m just so tired by the time I get to camp that it doesn’t matter what’s going on outside my tent. It’s a strategy that works if you’re afraid of the creatures of the night!
For breakfast I had the same oatmeal sludge as the past two mornings. About halfway in I started to struggle with it. I used to eat oatmeal every single morning for years when I worked in the office, and I loved it. I looked forward to it every day. Then I hiked the PCT in 2013 and towards the end I just couldn’t stomach the stuff no matter what I added to it. Even chocolate didn’t work! It was a sad day when I realized I just couldn’t eat oatmeal anymore. But since then, I’ve had it here and there and it’s been pretty good. I guess it’s good until day three. This trip confirmed that two days in a row is my new oatmeal limit. I finished it, but it was tough. I needed the energy for my last stretch, and I was just about out of food. I guess I planned well! All I had left were a couple of true lemon flavor packets, two honey packets, a piece of fruit leather, and my emergency Ramen. Perfecto.
The first few miles were flat, wide trail, and I actually made good time for once! The trail was too wide for spiders and their webs, so that helps! The sun was shining, the tree’s leaves were turned all kinds of vibrant yellows, oranges and reds, and the sky popped through in its vivid, lively blue. It was a perfect day.
Just a couple of miles from the end, I popped out on the shore of Spurgeon Hollow Lake. I stood in awe for a few moments just taking it in. First of all, it was water on an otherwise super-dry trail. I didn’t need any to drink, but it almost felt like my skin was soaking in the moisture. It was nice to see. The water was like a mirror, reflecting a rainbow of fall foliage and was covered in a thin layer of fog rolling across it’s surface. It was the perfect scene to finish up my autumn backpacking trip on the Knobstone Trail.
I arrived at the trailhead at 9:50am, just as Adam was pulling up in the jeep. He scooped me up, brought me to a mint chocolate chip ice cream cone followed by lunch. I was craving fish. So weird. Not a burger, not a steak, not even a beer! I got a brewed decaf coffee and a delicious swordfish steak with steamed broccoli and some french fries. Post-hike meals. Yep. Maybe the real reason I love to hike is because… well, food.
A couple more from the last day:
Tonight I love the Knobstone Trail. Minus the spiders in the trail.
Thanks for reading and being a part of my journey!