May 9, 1998

5/9/98 Thunder Hill Shelter

6.4 miles (747.0 total)

No sooner had I blown my candle out, when the mice decided to use my sleeping bag to explore. After several times of jumping up to chase them off, I decided to set the tent up in the shelter. There was just enough space between the floor boards for my tent stakes. Worked perfectly and I got a good night’s sleep.

This morning after looking at the map, decided to see some sights. About 2 ½ miles down the trail was a side trail for the Apple Orchard Falls. I decided to take the one mile trail down to see it. A trail maintainer yesterday told us how hard this area was hit with the winter ice storm. Coming down this side trail I couldn’t believe the devastation - like an atom bomb or hurricane. But as bad as it looked the falls were beautiful - had to cross under the falls to get a good picture. Saw a couple of day hikers coming down as I was going up.

Wonderful stream on Apple Orchard Mountain

The goddess was kind today, mostly cloudy, but when I wanted to take a picture, the sun would peak out of the clouds. Walked on up Apple Orchard Mountain and barely saw the large radar sphere up top.

The trail goes under the "Guillotine"

Once I got to the shelter, I started to re-think my hiking schedule. Ahead, on the trail is the Devils Marble Yard, but its 1 ½ miles off the trail. Plus, the hitch to Buena Vista is supposed to be very difficult. So I decided at 11am to call it a day, do the side trip tomorrow, and get food at Glasgow on Monday. "5 miles and camp" as Ghandi would say.

So I did my best to keep busy. Practice my penny whistle, took a nap, dug out the fire pit, all while waiting for the others to catch up. Later in the afternoon, the two day-hikers I met yesterday telling me about the snake showed up - they’d driven on ahead to here. Kadiddle was the first to show up. Said he almost dropped out, "It would be so easy to hitch hike home and take a trip to Arizona". He was pushing on to tent. Ghandi showed up hiking in sandals. He was surprised to see me this time. He headed out just before Samson and Smiley arrived and Veto. While everyone was taking a short break, Cliff, a southbound section hiker also arrived. He’s a retired physics professor from PA just hiking from Waynesboro to Damascus. Some very annoying guy was just out for the day and came by and wouldn’t stop talking even though we tried to ignore him. Samson and Smiley made a quick get-away to tent on ahead. "Annoying guy" left while we were cooking. John and Henry left to eat at the lodge as we gave hints to bring back goodies.

Later, as our campfire got going, Moondaddie and Cliff discussed gems and optics. John and Henry came through, bringing us two six-packs of Miller Genuine Draft. Hit the spot! Tomorrow, Kevin heads home. Moondaddie will get a food drop and hit the trail later in the day.