Started at Watauga Lake Shelter
Ended at Iron Mountain Shelter
We've done 200 miles on the trail
After leaving the shelter we crossed the Watauga dam and met a guy from the TVA. He gave us bedrock from core samples they were drilling at the dam. He also told us about the peach tree and the berry bushes. We got a handful of berries but the peaches were not ripe yet.
At our first break we had a Big Sur Bar, 600 calories of energy packed goodness. They are like mini bricks and my pack is a bit lighter after eating them.
At the Vandeventer Shelter Shivers and Unknown caught up with us and we got to talk and hike with them, and the boys even got to help light the stove for them when Shivers was making lunch. Our energy was really low when Jesus caught us and stopped to talk. He is a very mellow guy with lots of energy and really picked up our spirits. We hiked with him to the shelter and he stayed for dinner before moving on. He told us about biking the Virginia Creeper trail and he plans to do it too.
We stopped for water before the shelter and my water pump is really slow, 10 min per 32oz Nalgene. That is painfully slow since we have about 5.5 of them to fill. I can't pump for an hour so we've been pumping at breaks and waiting for Internet so I can get the number and call. I hope it is an easy fix since the filter is only a few weeks old.
At the shelter it was like a party with old friends; Jesus, Shivers, Unknown, Brad and his friend from Ohio, two 18 year old guys from NC, another guy who was impressed with the kids, and Snickers (the lone adult female). Brad played hacky sack with the boys while Sydney was excited to talk to everyone. Brad later had problems with his stove so I let him use my stove. He is a runner who ran the Cleveland Marathon. Shivers also ran a marathon but Unknown has only done a half (it was funny when he said "I only ran two half marathons" and everyone was thinking two halves makes a whole). One of the 18 year old guys brought a Frisbee and if you dropped it you had to sit on the "bench of shame." Sydney loved sending people to the bench. Later we talked about the trail and southbound hikers told us northbound hikers what shelters to stay at and other trail related things. The northbound hikers did the same. It was a great shelter experience and one of the reasons the trail is so social and why hikers develop such close ties to each other.
We crossed the 200 miles hiked milestone today. We didn't celebrate, but Sydney said "I can't wait till 500".
I love this picture of Sydney enjoying her Big Sur Bar