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[at-l] READY's journal: June 17 Sunday TD 12 part 1

>Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there, and especially to my very 
>favorite one, who's back in Pennsylvania.
>We were awake around 7:00 am. Mudman and Awol were already pretty much 
>packed up and ready to leave when we got out of our sleeping bags. Chops 
>was not far behind.  We ate a speedy breakfast with Blowing Sunshine, all 
>of us admiring a nest of wrens at the cooking pavilion as we did so. 
>Blowing Sunshine left at about 8:00, and we were, ourselves, out by 8:30.
>We had only gotten 10 minutes up the trail when I recalled that I'd 
>forgotten my headband back at the shelter.  Spur offered to go back for 
>it.  Leaving his pack at the trailside and his fannypack with me, he 
>headed back to the camp, while I headed up the trail to begin the "Roller 
>Coaster," a series o 10 climbs and descents in approximately 14 miles.
>Spur caught up with me after the first crest and dive, some 45 minutes 
>later, headband in hand. We hiked, him listening to his casettes and I to 
>my .8 ounce radio.
>This is a wonderful little radio with amazingly good reception, even in 
>the woods. I was amused by two of the songs that played in the morning 
>hours. One, by Tom Petty, had the following lyric: "Baby, there's no easy 
>way outta here.  I'm gonna hold my ground, I won't back down."
>On the heels of that one, a song by the Dave Matthews Band featured these 
>words: "...spinning madness of a roller coaster..." and (as I was thinking 
>of Spur, who was hiking just in front of me), "the distance between your 
>heart and mine...."  Strange how fitting songs can be at those choice moments!
>Just after the 2nd climb and dive, we came to a road crossing where Huffer 
>and Puffer, a '98 thruhiker, was offering up "trail magic in the form of 
>cold drinks, cookies, granola bars, bananas, and fun conversation.
>He asked if Spur was "the 'famous' Spur!?" It both pleased and amused Spur 
>to be referred to in this manner. We proceeded to talk about all the 
>hikes, past and present. It was time to move and so we did.
>I was struck by the beauty of the trail in this section.  All along the 
>treadway was lush, green moss. At the same time, I was concerned by all 
>the caterpillars that I was seeing!  Gnawed leaf remnants were scattered 
>all over the forest floor and the trail.
>I looked up into the trees. While I could not detect any damage, I was 
>certain that a trained eye could discern that there probably was a great 
>deal of damage.
>At one point, I turned a corner on an ascent, and as I rounded a 
>waist-high rock on the trail, I suddenly jumped back onto the berm and 
>squeeled, "copperhead!"
>I looked up and saw the amused look on Spur's face from where he stood 
>ahead of me.  I must have brought forth pictures of a distraught female 
>atop a chair, screaming about a mouse.
>Spur took a bunch of photos of the snake as it slithered across the trail, 
>and we marveled at how closely Spur must have come without seeing it.  By 
>the time I'd made it to that point it was a mere 2 feet away from the treadway.
>The 7th crest and dive was more like "crash and dive" for me.  It was a 
>really difficult and taxing climb for me.  Spur was still moving along 
>easily, seemingly unperturbed by any of the elements: rocks, heat, 
>humidity, or climbing.
>At the top of the last crest and dive for this section, I saw a lovely 
>stone sitting atop some smaller rocks.  Clearly, this was intended to be a 
>bench. It permitted a lovely view as well, so I decided that I would help 
>it fulfill its destiny. I sat down and rested.  Ah, lovely!
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