I left Shaw’s alone today around 2:00pm. I only had to hike eight miles to the next shelter. The Nerd Herd, as Tim calls them, a group that we met on the trail, left early in the morning for Moxie Bald. Tim and Eric returned to highway 15 to restart their hike. I decided to hike the blue-blaze trail out of Monson. It’s the first blue-blaze I’ve taken, using the old trail on the road to bypass a trail through the swamp.
My pack weighs more now than when I started the trail. Wane No, a retired Georgian who spent most of his life working for Wake County, NC public schools, weighed both my pack and me. The pack weighed 46 pounds. I weighed 185, 17 pounds less than when I began the trail. Wane No offered suggestions on lightening my pack, including switching to an alcohol stove and getting a 30̊ sleeping bag. He also told me that as I move south, I’ll have more opportunities to visit Civil War battle sites.
I paid for one more shuttle into Greenville. My share was ten dollars for the 20 mile round trip. I needed to get a Primatene Mist inhaler since my regular inhaler disappeared from my Ziploc bag first aid kit. I suspect one person of stealing it. He expressed interest in the medicine, wondering how it helped me breath. This person had already confessed to raiding another thru-hikers cache of food. I didn’t particularly like him when I first met him, and the morning that I realized it was missing, he and the only other person in the shelter, left quickly and hike 22 miles, well out of my range. I’m 90% sure he took, but I have no way to prove it and I’ll never see him again. I’ll never forget his name or his face though.
While in Greenville, I also bought a tiny DareDevle lure for my new collapsible fishing rod. I only had a green Yo-Zuri which looks good in the water but hasn’t been productive. The tiny silver and gold spoon with a double hook that I purchased has worked well. When I stopped at the East Branch of the Piscataquis with Eric, who had packed out a bottle of Yellowtail Shiraz and was drinking it when I found him on the banks of the river, I threw a few casts into the shallow water. I cast into a darker area of the brown water where I figured a fish might be hiding in the deep pool. Soon I pulled my first brook trout from the water. I released it alive. While Eric drank and explained his interest in Eastern philosophy and love of the Bhagavad-Gita, I continued to flip my spoon into the cool water from the rocky bank. A fish bit the lure with a fierce strike and I set the hook and after a short fight in which the fish stole line several times off the reel, I landed a ten inch speckled trout, my first ever. I guided him to the rocks and then released him into the gentle rapids. Eventually we crossed the river and continued on the trail. Eric moved ahead of me, but I found him and Tim waiting for me at Horseshoe Canyon lean-to. After dinner, I went to the rocks of the riverbank again to fish. I released four brook trout alive. My first day fishing on the AT was a success. At the next town, I’ll buy spices and foil so I can cook my catch. When I returned to the lean-to, Taco, had already arrived and made his bed. He was the 7th NOBO so far. He knew Michael Kirby from Mississippi State because they had been connected through mutual friends in Boone, NC.
Tomorrow, Eric and Tim plan to hike 22 miles. I am only planning 13 miles. I doubt I’ll see them again on the trail, and maybe never at all. I will call Tim through when I get to Boiling Springs, PA, because he offered to let me stay at his house.