I got slightly off-trail before the Stover Creek Shelter - went straight when I should have taken a sharp left - but figured it out pretty quick and got to the Stover Creek Shelter around 1:30pm. On the post announcing the shelter was a note from L. that said:
I plan to go as far as I can. If you don't catch me tonight I'll pick you up at FSR42 tomorrow (the one ~1 mile north of springer). See you then.I was so mad! I knew I was going to make it to Springer - I had 4 hours before sundown and 2.3 miles to go. What did that mean, anyway "I plan to go as far as I can". Was she going to stealth camp in the burned out part of the approach trail - the part where we didn't have a map and couldn't tell where the water sources were? That sounded like an awful idea. And why was she changing the plan all of a sudden? We had planned to stop at Springer for the night, so it wasn't like we were running behind or absolutely needed to get to the truck ASAP. Oooh I was mad. I turned on my phone and texted her "I am going to catch up withj you". Then turned my phone back off because I didn't really want to talk with her, I just wanted to hike. The more I hiked the madder I got. If I couldn't trust her to stick to the plan, then how were we going to hike the entire AT together? She was faster than me - true - but I will be in prime hiking shape soon enough and won't have a problem keeping up with her long ass legs. Was she just going to leave me?
I decided that it didn't matter. If she went ahead on her own I was going to hike the AT alone. Lots of people have done it that way and that even though I knew Emily wouldn't be happy about it, she'd be okay with it eventually. And that I was still going to walk the approach trail back to the state park. If L. wouldn't wait for me, I'd call someone to come pick me up.
I knew deep down that L. was just trying to help. That she knew how bad off my feet were, and she was probably trying to make it so the day tomorrow wasn't so long. But my feelings were hurt because she obviously thought I wasn't cut out for the hike, and that made me mad.
I have to admit, when I got to the Forest Service road I did see if there was anybody around. If there had been, I might have hitched a ride back to the State Park and slept in the back of L.'s truck. Wouldn't *that* have been a surprise, huh? But I kept on trudging along in my blue crocs, one step at a time.
It's a 0.9 mile hike from the FS road to the top of Springer, and the trail is full of rocks and roots. About 2:45 I turned on my phone to see if she had texted me back. She texted me "I'm here" with a pic on top of Springer by the plaque. I didn't know if that meant she was going ahead with her crazy plan or if she was waiting for me on Springer. I kept walking. I got to the turnoff for the shelter and decided to keep going the 0.2 miles to the summit. When I rounded the corner to the top of Springer, and saw L. there, I was overjoyed. Seriously, I don't think I've ever been so happy to see another person in my life. I caught her! I didn't have to hike in the dark in the woods!
I think she was pretty happy to see me, too.
As it turns out, she thought it was a lot later than it actually was, which is why she left the note about going on. We decided to stay at Springer shelter for the night (as originally planned). We took our time setting up camp and making dinner...I had a super delicious couscous with tomato sauce and pepperoni and parmesan cheese (think I might be eating a LOT of pepperoni on this trip). As we were eating dinner and watching the sunset an owl flew down onto a branch about 10 yards away, clicked it's beak at us a few times, stared at us for a minute or two, and then flew away. It was pretty neat.