Blood Mountain

… Did I build it up so big in my head that I was just scared of it? My shuttle dropped me off at this nondescript place and told me all I had to do is take that blue blazed trail up a mile and I’d run into where I had previously left the AT the day before. I honestly did not have a lot of faith in what he was telling me but I did it anyways and it turned out he was right. The trail was pleasant and I had a lovely time. I didn’t see a single soul on that blue blaze trail to get up to Jarrard Gap on the AT. It was another really excellent day for soul-searching, didn’t run into a single thru-hiker the entire 6.5 miles. I did run into a couple of locals that were just out for little day hikes and 2 really skinny young SOBO guys.
It was really cold and I had to stop several times bundle up. I used my new Aqua Mira drops in the spring. I just generally really enjoyed the silence of the trail … which was sometimes drowned out by my busy thoughts. I sang the thank you song over and over and over again always adding new verses! Actually going up blood mountain from that side was relatively easy! Lots of slow gentle switchbacks. When I started getting to the Rocky outcroppings I started getting really excited! It was beautiful the sky was beautiful! The clouds were beautiful! The rocks were stunning! The rhododendron trees were were fabulous!
And… I made it to the top of blood mountain! I was the only one there as I explored the old shelter and briefly considered staying the night there. But I was afraid I would freeze and I did not have a bear canister for my food. I hopped around on the slick rock Taking loads of photos and just enjoying the butter glory that is our earth. So much joy I felt! I made it to the top. I didn’t die. I was going to be okay! I still had 1.5 miles to get down and had been amply warned to be very careful of my footing on the way down. The warnings were very much justified! And I did indeed slip once… coming down hard on my right elbow and my right butt cheek. I hurried as much as I dared considering the treacherous terrain but the sun was going down fast and I certainly did not want to be out there after dark. I came down that last hill and could see Mountain Crossing store across the road. I made it!

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