Today was just a great day. I hiked 18 miles. Tonight, I am camped along Trout Creek. Clipper and Rooster are also here.
In the morning, I passed through some nice pasture land. In addition, I was lucky to see the Keffer Oak, which is the largest oak tree on the AT in the south and is around 300 years old.
A good part of the day was hiking on a high rocky ridge. I had great weather and great views on this long ridge walk. I even heard a bear cub, but could not see it. Saw a little forest fire. A local person let me know the trail is closed by McAfee Knob as a result, which is an iconic area. Will find out when I get there I guess.
I entered this scenic woodland area after descending the ridge. Many plants were leafing out here. I was thrilled to see a 5 foot black rat snake going up a tree. Very cool!
Then I started climbing up Brush Mountain. It was pretty dry and warm. Some sections were pretty steep. Saw a few little lizards out in the sun, one of which had a bright blue underside. I was watching the lizards and I saw they were watching me. We made friends.
At the top of Brush Mountain is the Audie Murphy Monument. Mr. Murphy died here in a plane crash. Mr. Murphy was also the most decorated U.S. soldier of World War Two. Read more on the internet about him.
For some reason, my main thinking today was on the subject of mortality. I was thinking of mine and that of people important to me. How we talk about it or not. How it impacts relationships. How we wish we would have asked people questions why they are alive. I even had a small fruit fly land on my arm hiking, I gently moved it off and was pleased I did not kill it. Our planet may be the only place its kind live. In general, I try not to kill any bugs (or other critters) while hiking. I try extra hard not to step on them.
It was a good day. I was even able to talk with my parents and girlfriend on the phone a little as I hiked.