Day 149 – Friday, August 5th: Wilson Valley Lean-to to Stealth Camp (West Branch of the Pleasant River), 19.9 miles, 2,104.9 total AT miles.

I woke up and broke camp quickly. There were a lot of folks mulling about – we had been in the middle of a southbound thru-hiker bubble for a while now. I used the privy and gathered water from the stream that flowed alongside camp. We were on the trail just after 7:30am.

Greyhound was apologetic about having to hike the next two miles again – I told her it was not worth worrying about. But I was a little worried – it was Day Two in the HMW and we were already ten miles behind schedule.

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The trail today was a little difficult. We were constantly hopping from rock-to-rock and root-to-root all morning. Around 10:30am, I found a giant, green caterpillar on the AT – it reminded me of the horn worms that used to attack my mom’s tomatoes when I was a kid. This thing was terrifying. It was thrashing back and forth, wiggling its blue horn into the air. What a monster.

At around 1:00pm, we stopped at the Barren Ledges to have a quick lunch – I’m thankful I’ve become really good at eating – I can finally close my food bags! We set off with a renewed vigor and summit Fourth Mountain at 3:30 having traveled eleven miles on the day.

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We hung out on Monument Cliff for a while – today was turning into a great hiking day.

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We hiked to the summits of Columbus and Chairback Mountains – Chairback was beautiful.

We caught an amazing sunset as we descended into the valley below. It got dark quickly – we continued hiking north with headlamps. The trail stayed rocky – we found little options to camp.

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As we approached the banks of the Pleasant River, we started passing several clusters of tents – there wasn’t a campsite to be found. We eventually made it to the river. We decided it’d be best to ford this thing now, giving our shoes some time to dry out overnight, rather than tackle it first thing in the morning. The crossing was a cinch – it was only about calf-deep at the most.

We set up camp directly on the AT on the opposite shore – it was nearly 10:30pm before we even started cooking dinner. We both went to sleep quickly.

 

Author: Chris Kummer

Hey y'all - Cool Dad here. Ever since I was a little kid, I wanted to thru-hike the AT. It remained a nagging thought for nearly a decade - then it got loud enough to warrant my attention. So I quit my unfulfilling job(s) in Seattle and commenced hiking north from Springer in the spring of 2016. And I'm exceedingly thankful I did. The people I met, the things I saw, the gross foods I ate - not a day goes by without fondly remembering life on the trail. If you've already thru-hiked a long trail, you know exactly what I'm talking about. If you're thinking about tackling a long-distance hike, do it. Do it now. I'm probably gonna do it again...

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