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Conditions: sunny

B: Power bar & PayDay L: trail mix and raw ramen noodles crunched into “chips” w the roasted chicken seasoning plus some butter-cheese Idahoan instant mash potato powder. No lie, it’s good! D: Ramen x 2 with a dash of Idahoan instant potato powder and two SPAM singles.

Great rest at Standing Bear and I’m ready to tackle the last big hill towards Hot Springs.

10:30, late start. First 4miles was straight up 3500 ft up, then we have been going on a roller coaster of up/downs. I wouldn’t be surprised if we walked a total of 5000+ ft up all together. We found a weird structure at the top of one mountain that was a white cone-shaped building that made me think of Area 51. Turned out it was an airline beacon and we couldn’t use our cell phones in the area! Fat chance AT&T would work there anyways. About 3 miles later (or 6?) we reached Max Patch Summit. I was thinking, “Can’t we skip this one?”, but this was awesome! We all took off our packs to take time to look. 360 view video:
 . I’ll probably be painting that later since three is a parking area that’d give me access to this spot later.





Temp: 70’s, but misty. Walked in the clouds today (peed into a cloud)

B: banana chips, L: banana chips and almonds, snickers S: pre-cooked beef crumples (like spam singled) & cheddar-broccoli rice (add water)

It was still raining this morning and thick w fog. I waited inside the tent to get up because the rain drops were pounding on the tent, but condensation inside “spit” on me until I couldn’t grit my teeth any longer. 8:30, I’m up. Went out and saw it was hardly raining a bit! It was the tin-roof effect: a sprinkle is like a hailstorm. Everything was either damp or wet, but not cold. I walked 3 miles and hit the GA/NC border and sketched the famous oak (couldn’t paint – about to rain).
(Video clip at the tree) http://youtu.be/z6NdYsGBYeI

I packed up the easel and sketch pad and walked to Muscrat Creek Shelter. On the way, I passed the places where I had my freak brain tumor twitch-symptoms in 2011. It’s amazing how clearly you remember everything when the adrenaline is pumping. There were supposed to be “tornadic winds” that day. The wet rocks, cold chill of March air and seeing the exact place where I tried to talk to Indy, but heard strange vocals rather than speech come from my mouth coupled with facial spasms. I’ll never forget it, but it felt great to just pass them by as if they were just another turn in the woods. After surgery, chemo and viewing a favorable MRI in 2012, the neurologist said, “Now go live your life”. Good advice, one step at a time. I forged ahead to Standing Indian Shelter and as I passed a corner in the trail, just shy of the shelter sign, a small bear shot off into the woods. It was the size of a Labrador, but really fluffy. That’s what I was afraid of last night? Hmm.
This was 10 miles for the day, and it was now about 5ish. At Standing Indian Shelter, I met a really cool guy “Dee” who epitomizes the “not all who wander are lost” quote. He is a tall thin man with a grey/white moustach and beard about in his late 50’s and is a “drifter” living in different places, working different building jobs. What he is, is a storehouse of wisdom/knowledge. In chatting, I found out the monkey bird is a screech owl. Thanks Dee! I got in a painting by the stream and chatted w Dee about life in general.

We called it a night around 9:30 making sure most of the gear was “mouse proofed”. We set what couldn’t be hung near our heads. When we hear em, BAM! One last squeak.
Good day. I can hear the little mice skittering across the roof now.

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