We started hiking right at 6:30 this morning, very aware that it could be a tough day. We had decided to shoot for at least 10 miles, and just see how it would go, because we had a pretty major mountain to get over. We always try to hike at least 15 miles each day.
There was still a lot of moisture hanging in the air from the rain the night before, which made it plenty muggy, but the rain had brought a great cool front, and the breeze had picked up a lot. This made for really nice hiking. The temperature stayed in the 70's all day.
Another hiker stayed with us most of the day, Kindle Ninja. We enjoyed visiting with him as we hiked. He had quite a few funny stories about his hike.
It wasn't long before we climbed up to Holt Ledge and got some really nice views as the trail ran along the cliffs.
From there, we went down a ways and crossed a road. There was a small sign that said, "Free ice cream and water," with an arrow pointing to a side trail. We took it, and ended up at a house just a few yards away. It was the home of Bill Ackerley, aka the Ice Cream Man of the AT. He was happy to see us and asked us to sign his log. I noticed I was number 473 for the year. He gave us all a chocolate-dipped ice cream and offered to top off our water bottles. He has been doing this for hikers for 8 years now. The trail goes right by his front door. We enjoyed our visit, and he invited us to stay and play croquet, as he had a game set up in his yard. After we finished our ice creams, we thanked him and headed on to climb Smarts
That was some climb! The cooler weather helped a lot though. It was the most challenging climb we've had in a long time. There was even a part with ladder rungs in the steep rock face we had to climb.
When we summited, the view was amazing! We also climbed the fire tower at the top, which was even a better view!
We stayed there a while and ate lunch. It actually would get chilly when clouds passed over, and I slipped on a long-sleeved short We eventually packed up and hiked on another 5 miles to stay at a shelter halfway up the next mountain. We still hiked 15 miles and still managed to stop early, before 5:00.
- Steady and F100