4/19/15 – Vandeventer Shelter – 15miles
Today started out a bit damp but it never really hardcore rained until evening. It also proved to be a very eventful day of hiking. The trail led us up a pretty big climb then after a few miles, to Watauga Lake. While hiking around the lake, I stumbled upon the home of Pennywise (the clown from “It”). It was small concrete cave of sorts leading into the lake. Sis would have passed out if she saw this place! I of course took a picture of it just for her. Tim Curry is a very scary man!
We crossed Watauga Dam which reminded us all of Fontana Dam in mini form. It’s wild to think of the miles we have covered already since the Smoky Mountains. Darwin, Roub, and I all lunched at the Dam and waited for Cider and Supermoon. Cider caught up just in time to enjoy a treat of Lady Fingers provided by Roub. The wind started to pick up so we packed up and kept moving never seeing Supermoon.
After a few miles we had all separated out on the trail and that’s when I heard it, a rustling in the woods. I stopped just in time to see a dark blob of fur run across the trail just a few yards in front of me. I stood there stupidly until my brain registered what I just saw, a BEAR. Of course this was just a little guy but a bear non-the less. Then the next thought registered, “if he was a baby where was momma?” I instantly broke out in a panic sweat. Darwin and Cider were in front of me a pretty good ways but Roub should not be not far behind me. There is safety in numbers! I then started to holler back to Roub to watch for bears. After a few minutes of no Roub, I continued north singing as loud as I could and hiting my trekking poles together. I had convinced myself momma bear was hiding behind every bush. After about a half-mile and no other bear sightings, I realized what a goon I must look like.
I finally caught up to Cider and Darwin filtering water and informed them of my bear experience. My bragging was cut short by darkening skies and thunder. We hustled up the trail to finish our last two miles before the rain hit. Upon arriving at the shelter, Darwin and I claimed a spot to tent on. By the time Darwin got the tent out of his pack the rain hit and the spot was a mud pit. So here we are crammed in the shelter feeling sticky and moist. Cider is tented half way in the shelter followed by Supermoon. Tough Little Biscuit and Optimist are literally in a dirt hole next to the shelter with only a tarp (they sent their tent home for hammocks which they don’t like). We offered to squeeze them in but they were willing to risk it along side the shelter. I am such a wiener; I totally would have squeezed my ass in the shelter. A few other people arrived and pitched tents around the shelter, leaving it to look like a compound of sorts. The rain is continuing on and off and the fog is thick. This should be an interesting evening.
***Look Out Next Week for Singing In the Woods Part 2: The Eventful Night***