5/1/2015 Watauga Dam
Today I meditated at the foot of Laurel Falls as I waited for my hiking buddies to catch up. Sam quietly crept up behind me and scared me witless. The falls were decorated with pink laurel. As we moved along towards Watauga Dam we passed over steep climbs through the fog. Fiddlehead’s friend Rain met us at the Dam, and we stealthed just before the no camping bear zone. We put all of our packs in Rain’s car for safe keeping and watched the sun set on the serene lake.
5/2/2015 Stealth Camp
We woke in the morning to streams of fog rising off the lake, reflecting and transforming the morning light. We quickly passed through the bear zone and moved along to the top of the ridge. Lazing in the sun at the top of the mountain was Chewy. We all dropped our packs and picked out sunny spots on the rock to dry our gear and sunbathe. We took a couple hours to relax and then hit the trail again. We hiked hard and moved along towards Damascus. We hiked through the cow pastures together, hugged some trees and carefully stepped around cow patties. This night we all camped without a rain fly to see the full moon rise through the woods.
After a long day of hiking we found a cozy stealth site just outside of Damascus and camped there as a group. Just before dark a large shadow emerged from the woods. An energetic woman waltzed up to us and said she had just seen a bear near our camp. She seemed stirred by the encounter and asked to join our camp for the night. This was the night we met Tic Tock. She had hiked the PCT and was doing long days on the AT. The camp was lively with her in our group, but her long, strong legs took her far ahead of us shortly after. We all ended the night by singing “What’s Going On” together. Sometime much later in the night a group of night hikers stirred us with their lights. I found out later it was Flask and No-one.