It’s been a little disappointing to have such a struggle keeping my phone charged because that is how I had planned on posting to this blog. My solar charger really only charges if it is sitting in broad bright sunlight and here in the Pineywoods with afternoon monsoon and cloud cover, it is hard to keep a charge.
Fortunately we have people meeting us at different trailheads along the trail and I can plug-in to get enough juice on my phone to post this. Let me just say… This dad gum trail is beautiful but it is as hard as heck. I’m not sure any of us knew what we were signing on for but we have gotten a good taste of it by now. The ascents into the mountains are steep, we have been rained on, sleet on and also had beautiful sunny days.
I wake up at 4 AM, pull my down jacket out of the pillowcase where it has been my pillow all night, put the jacket on and start rolling up my sleeping bag and stowing gear so I can put it in saddlebags and put it back on my horse for the next day. We break down our tents sometimes heavy with dew, heat water in our jet boil and eat oatmeal while shivering. Sometimes saddling the horses in partial darkness we wait until the sun comes up enough to see the trail clearly and then usually leave camp by 530 or so in the morning. We leave early because we need to get over the next ridge which is on the average around 11,000 feet, before the afternoon thunderstorms come in. Riding 8 to 10 hours a day we find a good stopping place that has lots of grass and water for the horses.
That being the priority we then look for relatively level spots to put our tents and begin to make supper around 4 o’clock. This is our time to relax, laugh and talk about the days trail. Sometimes hand grazing or hobbling our horses we wait as long as we can to let them fill up as much as they will. Hopefully in bed by about seven we get up at four the next morning and start again.