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[at-l] Trip Report Roan MT Trip - Part 2

Posted with permission from Jan

>Pauly, who is a STRONG near-16 years at 6'2" and 210 pounds, and who
>lifts weights, began to blow by me about the third day. We joked that
>his testosterone was kicking in. He did say, "Be glad you don't have
>to deal with testosterone and its effects." I was able to assure him
>that PMS was no Sunday picnic either!
>He was a whupped puppy after the climb from Roan MT. on Day two.
>eating supper at the Roan High Knob shelter, he lay in the dirt on
>back, sprawled flat out. I gently offered to help him clean up, it
>declined, I let him be and went to bed. And there he lay until after
>  Finally, he crawled up in the loft to me and whispered "everone's
>asleep downstairs, how do I get my gear up here without waking them
>up?" We ended up with him on the ground tossing stuff up to me thru
>the gable window, giggling like schoolkids, shushing each other. I'm
>sure we created more havoc for our cabin mates, but they were
>the next morning.
>But he grew stronger daily. It was the tortise and the hare by day
>four - zoom, he'd pass me after sleeping in an hour longer. I swear,
>that is the pack-shuckingest boy. He'll kick his load off in a
>There, at the next water source, he would be with his pack flat on
>ground. I weighed the "energy cost of taking mine off and slingng it
>back on, and usually opted to keep it on my back if there wasn't a
>high rock to unload on. But he would easily toss his 50-pound load up
>on his shoulder one-handed! I was envious. This went on all day, me
>trudging on gamely with gritted teeth, up and down, up and down, and
>him blowing by and resting.
>Okay, so after doubting my ability all that long day past 19E, I
>staggered wearily toward the shelter. Pauly, who got there first,
>heard me clicking along the Trail and came out and offered to carry
>food bag (I had carried his earlier in the week.). He even offered to
>help me hoist my pack back on. I was SO grateful. Funny how the
>things can make your day on the Trail...
>The registers at Moreland Shelter greatly lifted my spirits as I read
>of thru-hiker howling about aching feet, decreasing daily  mileage,
>sore legs and knees, low energy and general butt-dragging. When I do
>my thru-hike, I will cut myself some slack in this area. When the
>thru-hikers complain, I'll just be glad about arriving.
>Paul was simply an anomaly. In fact, there may be a secret in his Day
>Four superhike. "Mr. Invincible" happened to superhydrate just before
>his energy burst kicked in. Choked down two 20-ounce bottles. Hmmm...
>There may be something to that, and I plan to experiment along those
>lines the next time my energy flags. I kept eating carbs, remembering
>a story from Earl Schaffer's book, but no energy pickup there. And
>though I sipped regularly from my hydration pack, maybe it just
>enough. Maybe I needed to DRENCH my cells.
>Speaking of water, I have a funny story. Paul turned out to need ALOT
>of water, so I lent him my extra water bottle. But the sources, as I
>said, were not always usable. He'd been dry about an hour, and was
>feeling frstrated.
>So when we crossed the infamous Buck Mt. Road, across the street I
>spied a Baptist church. "C'mon," I said, "Let's ask them. We're
>supplicants now." No one home, but we DID find a spigot out back.
>As we refilled our water bottles and "cameled up," exclaiming our
>halleluiahs as we guzzled, Paul mentioned the water looked a little
>cloudy. In jest, I wondered aloud if it was a drainage spigot for
>baptismal font water from immersions.
>  This really got him going. He ended up leaving a note that told of
>our hydration dilemma and added "If there is anything I should know
>about the water or it's contents, please call my home at..." - and he
>left his phone number! I tried not to giggle, and I insisted he leave
>a buck with his thanks to build future hiker goodwill in that area.
>stuck the note and the donation in the church door. To date, he has
>received no call.
>One of the prettiest places we stayed was OverMountain Shelter, with
>it's long, superb views of the valley below, and it's wild turkeys,
>which we saw plenty. By then, Pauly was dreaming of food, fried
>chicken in particular. Maybes the turkeys got him thinking.
>The restored barn had tons of room, and we shared it with only a
>thru-hiker couple who had just graduated from Penn State, and Mike
>from Maine, a lawyer who had just retired. Of course, we all
>congratulated him on his good sense!
>The graduates were telling the story of the bear attack, which they
>had heard of the day before. News travels FAST on the Trail. They got
>it a little wrong, and ascribed the attack to the scent of a fried
>chicken dinner (actually, it was barbecued chicken, but who's
>particular when a bear has you by the arm!) "Hear that boy!" I
>up toward the general direction of the loft, where Pauly  had already
>crashed. "Fried chicken!"
>One last anecdote, we got caught in our first Trail thunderstorm. We
>dropped off the ridge Trail we were on and descended to a pasture. We
>were hardly a mile past 19E by then, and it was late. All the advice
>you hear? It's useless. I mean, who's going to squat, fer pity's
>For an hour? Who has lquads that strong? Not me. I so I stood, and
>kept my pack on. Pauly preferred not to hike. It was pouring down
>It was a very elemental moment, and we talked about how now it was no
>longer our call whether we stayed safe or got hit. In fact, by just
>stepping foot on the Trail, we were opening ourselves to very
>forces of nature. I think my joking and clownng annoyed him though,
>but our destiny was out of our hands at that point, if it's ever
>really there at all. I figured if I was going to do a Ben
>Franklin-plus, I could either go kicking or screaming, or go out
>noodling around.
>Paul said he was actually very curious about what would happen when
>died, but didn't want to leave his father and sister heart-broken.
>Brave kid! We camped in the rain that night and I have some questions
>about my Kelty Clark!
>We hiked pretty wet for the next few days (more rain) but the temp
>a little better thanks to the cloud cover. I was glad to be in the
>lower elevations when the rains came!
>So I was ranting about my physical miseries, discomforts and general
>lower-limb debilitation to a friend, who stopped me cold with a
>clear-headed "So did you sell your backpack yet?"
>Did I tell you about our fabulous campsite along Laurel Creek,
>between a rugged, 30-foot rock wall, some cliffs and the Creek...
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