5/5/2015 Rainbows and Ponies, Thanks Sota’ Sam for the photos!!!
Sam and I spent the day walking together. We crossed a rails to trails bridge making trail noises and choochooing. We took a break to do sock laundry in his kitchen sink. We were getting into the habit of rinsing our extra socks every few days as smell prevention. It didn’t really work, but it still seemed hygienic! We crossed cow pastures and mooed at the cows. Just before climbing White Top Mountain we found a large grassy field in which to eat lunch. I filled my tortillas with rehydrated hummus and jalapeno Cheetos. A car was parked nearby with an AT bumper sticker and while we were debating who it could belong to, along came a trio of hikers. This was the day we met Pokey, Pilgrim and Mofo. They offered us a couple of sodas, and I zipped up the mountain fueled by the sugar. I remember marveling at how kids can drink soda and then sit still all day. We crossed over Mt. Rogers to Thomas Knob shelter. At this point we were up in the Grayson highlands, land of the wild ponies, so we decided to stay in the bunk of the shelter. Ponies creep me out.
It rained just as we walked up to the shelter and scrambled inside. That night the sunset was accompanied by a rainbow.
5/6/2016 Grayson Highlands
Today we walked along the rocky ridgeline of the Grayson Highlands. Groups of ponies were grazing on either side of us. We wandered along to the next shelter at which we heard a fun story about the ponies. A young hiker told us he got us at night to use the bathroom and in the beam of his headlamp many eyes gleamed back at him. Ponies are creepy.
At one point a pony stood in the middle of the trail, refusing to budge. We waited several minutes to pass safely.
We moved on to Hurricane Mountain shelter for the night to find Tic Tock waiting out a thunderstorm. We ran over the ridge as it approached and took an early night in the safe walls of the shelter. We shared this shelter with Parks. I saw parks off and on for the rest of my hike.