Thursday, May 17, 2012

Incredible Views - McAfee Knob and Tinkering Cliffs

The word for today is views - really incredible views!
We left the Kosinsky's bright and early at 7:45. After a fond farewell to Barb, Jack loaded us and our gear into his truck and ran us by FedEx so we could bounce our box of "town clothes" up the trail tithe cabins we will be staying at Monday night with the kids. We also are taking a bit of a chance and sending our sleeping bags on up ahead as well. The week's forecast looks great, with the lows in the 50's. Hopefully that will not change. We went to Walmart yesterday in an attempt to find something a bit warmer than the Snuggie but still light weight and ended up with twin-sized fleece blankets - Hello Kitty for me, and Spiderman for Keith. Haha!
After leaving FedEx, we ran by McDonalds for yet another breakfast, and headed for the trail. Jack dropped us off right where we had left the trail on Monday. We hated to see him go, but said our goodbyes, and on e again entered the woods. After about 4 miles of hiking we logged our 700th mile on the trail!
We followed a nice stream for a ways, and then entered some pastures and crossed three stiles. We passed through really tall grass in the pasture, and I remembered that I was wearing new shorts, shirt, and socks that had not yet been treated with Permethrin. Darn! I never did see any ticks, however, and we kept looking for them.
We were excited to reach McAfee Knob today, the most photographed place on the AT. That kept us moving along fairly quickly all morning. At one point, we entered a parking lot for dayhikers, and ran into Steps. We haven't seen her since our first shelter in the Smokies. She seemed a lot happier than the first time we saw her. At that time, she was hiking 24 miles per day, and seemed to be racing down the trail. She told us she had learned to relax and enjoy herself, and had been hiking this whole time with Frodo and Pancakes - two guys we have not seen in a long time. She was headed to Damascus for Trail Days, so maybe we will get to camp with her when she returns. We also ran into Bernie the whittler again shuttling his wife and her sister. This time, he was making whistles - and I got one! Pretty neat! He made them out of elderberry because it's soft inside and easy to hollow out.
We hiked on, and met quite a few day hikers. It's a popular hike, and the Knob is only 5 miles from the parking lot. We finally reached the Knob, and were rewarded with a beautiful day for photos. We visited with a hiker named Buddy, who had been there before, and he took our picture. Buddy, if you read this, thank you! You did a great job!
We ended up sitting out on the ledge for an hour, taking our lunch break, enjoying the view, and watching hawks circle around below us. We could look across, and see the mountain across from us, and Buddy had told us that was Tinker Cliffs, which was going to be our campsite for the night. It seemed so far away!
We hiked on through the afternoon, stopping once to resupply water, and eventually reached the Cliffs around 7:00. The view from that side was equally as beautiful, and a little rainstorm had blown in, and had cooled it off nicely as we hiked. I took a few pictures, but then we pitched the tent, ate, and turned in for the night just as it started to sprinkle. Must be that 10% chance of rain that was in the forecast.
(Camped at Tinker Cliffs, about 50 yards from the edge, at mile 712 - what a view!)

- Steady and F100

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