The music keeps the Bears away

Monday, June 20, 2016
Cow Cap Gap Shelter (809.9)

Series of events today, beginning of the third week of this section hike, passed the 800th mile from the starting spot in Georgia, and my 900th mile overall.

Shuttle driver Gary shows up on time, and we are at trailhead at 7:45 AM and I'm on the trail soon after.

First six miles are more or less downhill, and the trail is smooth with few obstacles. Cross the Pedlar River Bridge, a hiker suspension bridge over a wide stream. It wobbles a bit but appears very sturdy.

Not soon after notice someone has created "800" using sticks on the side of the trail to mark that mileage. Take a picture and move on.

Heading up the hill I suddenly hear a really loud phone ringing. With bells, like the old rotary phones. I stop and try to place the direction and distance. It sounds like it's up in the woods a few hundred yards. Did a hiker lose their phone? Is a hiker missing and is someone trying to call them? The ringing stops.

I stand for a long moment, then call out to see if someone is there. No response, so continue on trail.

Soon enough it happens again, and my curiosity gets the best of me. Being careful to remember my way back, I go up the knoll, top it , and see a boathouse next to a lake. Apparently some kind of business with an amplified phone. Somewhat relieved, I turn back to the trail.

Make it to my target shelter and meet three other hikers, my first of the day. One has seen and knows of Sketch and saw him in Daleville. There are also texts from Gabe says he's going slower than hoped.

No idea how many signs like this I passed.

Although planned to stop here, decide to move up to next shelter for a couple reasons; it's a big hill and rather not face first thing tomorrow, and rain is expected tomorrow and would like to be further up trail.

Make shelter at 6:15, none the worse for wear. Only one section hiker here.

Since no one else is here, set up tent in one half of shelter and doze off around 9:00 PM.

At 9:30 Pack Mule arrives in a clatter of things, introduces himself, and says no reason to make room in shelter. Pack Mule is clearly high on something, and making a hell of a racket. Talking a mile a minute about going night hiking, full moon, ten miles, and Red Bear will be here soon and he's a pretty strange dude.

Can hear Red Bear long before see him. Has a big boom box setup, blasting music while getting water before arriving at shelter. Ask if he'd turn off music off until he gets back on trail, and he says no but will turn it down (to 'too loud for the pool party' loud).

Won't bore you beyond this, except that about ten other hikers arrive, similarly amplified with whatever the drug of the day is, and wander off down the darkened trail around 11.


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