We ran into Rocky sitting under the Keffer oak. This is the largest oak tree on trail in the south. Pretty big tree. The girth is 18 feet, 3 inches, and it's estimated to be 300 years old. We sat in the shade for a bit. Little Foot, Sandbagger and Rock n Roll caught up to us and joined. After the break, there was a steep climb. The sweat was pouring down, and we were under almost full canopy. Not sure if it's possible to sweat out more liquid than you consume, but I'm pretty sure that's what was going on...
We got to the shelter where we thought Xan and Brian had stayed, and according to a few other hikers hanging out, the boys had only just left 30-40 minutes ago. We were hot on their trail... We kept going and came upon an exposed ridge. Nice view! (and cell phone service to upload entries)
More walking up and down (as we do), and as the thunder started to rumble above, we stopped for lunch at a shelter. The boys were there with a few others, so we had caught them.
Walked on after lunch at different paces. I was lined up with Achilles for a while, and we made good time. Ended up coming to the road a mile away from our target shelter. Got water then hiked the longest mile ever AND it was uphill, but we arrived at the Pickle Branch shelter around 7pm.
I cleaned up in the river and we all made dinner. Stud Muffin and Sandbagger were there with our new crew (Achilles, Xan, Neutron and Left Field). Dinner and chatter and a good fire after a long day of hiking. Life doesn't get much better.
-- Posted from the trail...
Location:Pickle Branch Shelter