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 Second largest tree on the AT. Over 300 years old

Second largest tree on the AT. Over 300 years old

 Trekking poles for scale. That downed branch is the size of average trees in this area. Just bananas.  

Trekking poles for scale. That downed branch is the size of average trees in this area. Just bananas.  

 

Miles Today: 17.0

Mile Marker: 680.0

Last night the winds and rain picked up significantly.  Where I was camped was really rocky, and I was having difficulty getting one of my tent stakes to stay in place.  In the middle of the night it came loose, and the rain fly started whipping water into the side of my tent.  I had to get out, resecure the fly, and find something to weigh down the stake.  Ironically there were no surface rocks available, so I used a downed branch.  The wind kept waking me up off and on, keeping me from getting a good night's sleep.  Silver lining though, it pushed the storm west of us.  Clear skies all day today.

Hiking was pretty uneventful. There was one section that was rocky and all uphill.  That was rather frustrating.  Then at the end of the day I was debating if I would stay at the shelter.  Once I got there I realized it was 0.45 miles off trail, but it was also the last water source for the next 6 miles.  I decided if I was going to hike that far off trail I would just stay.  That is until I finally got down to the shelter.  There were six switchbacks and the trail was basically straight down.  While I was filling up water I pondered the choices, and I decided I'd rather fight the hill back up to the trail tonight instead of first thing in the morning.  Once I got to the top, I hiked another half mile or so, and then found a decent spot to camp.  Another late day today due to a slower morning start.  I've got to get back in the habit of leaving earlier.

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