We had a sort of layover day today, as we made enough progress on our intended route these past few days that we were able to stay at this camp site for another night. This is just the best, not having to move another day, no packing of sleds, just waking, eating, and walking without hauling toboggans today. We did have to devote some more time to the wood rendering in the afternoon when we returned. But is was very satisfying to know that tomorrow morning, we had out path set out for us , packed down firmly and refrozen by the below freezing night time temperatures. The toboggans should just fly then. Here’s a shot of Tony relaxing at the end of the ” work day”.
Breakfast was coffee, sausage, and super oatmeal with nuts and dried fruit in it. It was a lazy departure on our exploratory walk, leaving here at ten AM, with the goal of scoping out our last few miles back to the trip’s end point at Pittston Farms.
Today, we started from the dam near our camp site here on snow shoes. When we looked over the edge of the dam we were disappointed to see a very full and strong river current filling the channel. That meant, we couldn’t walk the river, and had to fall back on walking the snowmobile trailm that was paralleling the watercourse. The only times that we had to wear our snowshoes was when we veered off the snowmobile path to check on the possibility of walking on the river again.
I was able to spend some time walking and talking with Rangoon. We talked about the AT the whole time. What a relief it was to be in the presence of someone who walked the Trail with me. I have been reading several books by people who have walked the trail. It really puts things in perspective to read that from 1948 , when Earl Shaffer was the first, until 1972 only 36 people were known to thru-hike the AT.
We viewed life in the slow lane today. I was very interested to watch Bob and Tony’s post-mortem analysis of a couple of areas of the snowmobile path that had signs of wildlife incidents left there. One was where some blood on the snow was accompanied by animal tracks and actual wing impressions on the snow. The conclusion was that a Great Horned or Barred Owl had swooped out the trees and clawed a small rodent that was moving across the snow mobile path. The bird then carried it twenty feet and the dropped to the ground to consume it. Then there was evidence that small parts of the body had been left on the ground , and that a raven had landed and devoured the remains.
I have had a lot more dreaming out here than usual. We all were awakened in the night last night by the fantastic shrieking, cackling, demented screams of a pack of coyotes, no doubt discovering the body of a deer that we also viewed on our walk today. It is the real deal out here.