Day 2: The woods are lovely, dark, and deep.
April 14th: Stover Creek Shelter to Gooch Mountain Shelter
Today I hike to Gooch Mountain through a foggy forest straight out of an Edgar Allen Poe story, but the vibe is more Robert Frost. It is eerie in a quiet, peaceful way. I walk slowly so that it can last longer.
After lunch at Hawk Mountain shelter, I climb up and over Sassafrass Mountain. I'm getting tired and my hip is bothering me, but I still enjoy the walk. After the fog disperses, it threatens to rain all day, but that turns out to be all bluster. The wind kicks up and the clouds pass quickly across the sky, changing the shadows, but I never need my rain gear. The last few miles are difficult, but now, in camp a couple hours later, my body is feeling good.
Both nights have been delightful so far. There were about 12 people at the shelter last night, and closer to 20 today. A nice mix of older and younger hikers, and between 1/4 to 1/3 women, I would guess. A fun, adventurous environment. The people out here are both shy and forthcoming, willing to make conversation with strangers in that tentative yet eager way people are at the start of something new. The first day of class, an orientation, or the first day of 2200 mile walk.