It is Wendy with your usual daily dose of trail story! Today was an awesome day even if the terrain was tough (hint: it was!) This day could not be bad for one reason and one reason only- wild ponies! Oh and we got lost. In the forward direction. Allow me to explain!
The day started off late (or normal if that's how you'd like to refer to it at this point,) and we left in good spirits about the day ahead of us.
While the day was going pretty well in terms of spirits, the trail left something to be desired. Not only did our day include our first big climbs for a few days, but every bit of flat trail seemed to be filled with standing water. This made for a muddy and disgruntled Wendy!
This went on until around 4pm when we came around the bend to find a group of our friends sitting at the edge of the field. We went to investigate and found a most wonderful surprise- wild ponies! They were incredible and quite friendly to humans. They would lick you all over for the salt and even the newborn foal (Davy Crocket estimated him at 3 days old,) was able to come up and greet us! He made adorable neighs and ran around and hopped- I had to scrape my melted heart up off of the trail!
With our spirits lifted, we continued on to complete the rest of our daily mileage (suppose to be an 18.) Roughly one mile past our last shelter stop before we reached our goal for the night, however, the AT had a different plan for us.
Let me start this with a disclaimer: ask either Breeze or I who the one more likely to get lost and we would both answer with my name. When I hike I tend to check out mentally quite frequently and I am prone to miss turns or signs. However, I was not leading the pack for this one! Wouldn't you know he would lead us down the wrong trail that had a happy ending!
Continuing on, we somehow (probably our heightened state of glee about baby horses,) managed to miss a turn and wound up taking a neighboring horse trail. After descending from this trail roughly one mile and finding a sign letting us know we were in the wrong place, we decided to push on and wait for the horse trail to reconnect with the AT.
This went on for roughly another mile before we found the AT again and got back on track. We checked our guide, found where we likely were, and found that both the horse trail and the AT crossed the same path up ahead. We took that direction on the AT and moved forward.
The destination was a place called the scales, which was once used as a high altitude cattle auction. This went into place right after the cowboys found out how much weight their herd lost when they got herded down the mountain! After our reading we made a new discovery- we had been walking south on the AT for the past mile, not north!
This meant two things- one we were past the shelter we were headed for, and two we had just cut off quite a section of the AT! After we got to a camp and got settled out we found out that we actually cut off 8.5 miles of trail. While we typically might feel bad for such a transgression normally, we can confidently day we feel no shame for it was in true ignorance!
We pet a wild pony, what did you do today?