The Knobstone Trail, Part Three
- Number 69 on my life list.

Part Three
Go to Part 1, 2, 3, 4

The next morning I kept hearing very faint voices. I assumed that other backpackers were getting ready to pass by, but I didn’t see anyone. This went on for a while, but I never could pinpoint where it was coming from. It seemed close. It was like one of those dreams where you are moving forward but can never quite get to your destination. Is this similar to what the schizophrenics are hearing? How could I really know if I was crazy?

As I made my way down the trail, the voices seemed to move with me; always just ahead but never closer. Once I came near enough to the source I realized it was coming from a speaker hundreds of yards away.

It was a peculiar auditory effect that I still don’t understand. I tried to make out the muffled words, but, it wasn’t until they were put to music that I understood. A young girl’s voice started singing the national anthem. I imagine the sounds were emanating from a nearby baseball diamond. I would have put my hand over my heart or saluted but I was too busy defending the legs of Helm's Deep again. 

I hiked about eight miles today before stopping for lunch. A log was reaching over a shallow stream that was dry in spots and offered a perfect place to sit and rest. 

I propped my backpack against the log, sat next to it and unpacked my cooking gear. Today’s feast was going to be dehydrated chili mac, more turkey jerky, and an energy bar. The chili mac didn’t taste good at all, so I pulled the trowel from my pack, walked a little further into the woods, and buried the uneaten portion in the ground (leave no trace). I enjoyed this spot so I sat on the log a while longer and listened to the gurgling creak and took some photos. 

After another day of many strenuous ups and downs, I decided I couldn’t go up another hill. So, for some reason, I climbed one more. I got to about mile thirty before finding a decent spot to setup camp. 

Seventeen miles was my new one day record. My feet had taken a lot of abuse but were still holding up pretty well considering. I had a sore developing on the back of my left foot from the steady friction of an exposed piece of plastic in the back of my worn out hiking shoes. Before leaving I knew this spot would be a problem, so, rather than spend more money on gear, I tried to repair it with some aquarium filter media and duct tape. It was comfortable for a while but overall an incredibly dumb idea. I learned my lesson. Good shoes will, from now on, be my most important piece of equipment. 

The rest of my body felt great, with only mild but expected soreness in my shoulders from the weight of the pack. I only had sixteen miles to go and was debating whether or not I should take it easy and do the rest in 2 days or get done early and spend Tuesday recovering at home, before going back to work early the next morning. I figured I'd wait and see how I felt. 

The campsite was similar to the one the night before. I laid out my tarp and tent on top of a flat bed of dried pine needles and leaves. I also spent this night much like the previous one; had the same meal and listened to the same sounds. The one difference was I could sort of see the sun setting as I got into my tent. The trees were thick but I could see the orange sky between the few openings between leaves.

Part 4 >
Go to Part 1, 2, 3, 4