Yesterday's hike up the Big East Fork Trail has convinced me that we're prepared to do Cold Mountain.

We made it to the junction of the Big East Fork, Bridges Camp Gap, and Greasy Cove trails once last year. This time we kept going up (very much up) the Bridges Camp Gap Trail; it ends at the Mountains-to-Sea (Section 6) Trail only 400 feet from the Blue Ridge Parkway and the Looking Glass Rock Overlook.

After crossing the Parkway and getting a picture of Looking Glass Rock to prove that I had made it, we found a spot in the shade, away from all of the parked cars, where we sat in the grass and cooled off for half an hour. Cars and motorcycles came and went and my ego wondered what they thought of me and Rocko sitting there. "They probably think one of those parked cars is ours, and we are just resting before driving again," was my main thought.

I had to take a decent picture before
we headed down. Looking Glass
Rock was in the shadow of a cloud
when we arrived at the top.
It felt so good, sitting in the shade, feeling the breeze, no reason to hurry anywhere and no point in trying to hurry since the car was three hours away. It reminded me of the freedom I felt when I was homeless. Nothing to hurry for, no place to hurry to; just relaxing in the shade on a beautiful afternoon.

Time-stamped documentation
(with dog butt)

It's even more enjoyable when you are sober and really do have a safe place to go home to, though the deep memories of
homelessness made me a bit self-conscious. As we walked past the parked vehicles, I felt like a vagrant who might be thought to be casing the cars for theft. Once we were past the cars I felt better.

Back in the forest, I felt great. I knew that we had hours of hiking ahead but it would mostly be downhill. And so it was, but there was plenty of up too. It's not an easy hike in either direction.

Woo-hoo, there's the car!
In the morning, we had left the car and entered the Shining Rock Wilderness at about 9:20 AM. We walked back out at 5:16 PM, tired but happy, not nearly as exhausted as I thought we'd be.

We are ready to assault Cold Mountain next week, weather permitting.

Today's weather is glorious. It's 86.9℉ but only 49% humidity outdoors. I came in from watering my tomatoes and noticed that the air conditioning had come on; I've had all the windows and doors wide open for the past two hours. It's only 76℉ in the house, and I need to get the relative humidity down in here before mold sets in. I had a lot of blue-green, dusty mold last summer because it was cool and rainy and the humidity stayed high.

Oh well. The laundry is almost done, Rocko and I are feeling a real good kind of tired, and I have to find out if we're playing music tonight. I turned off the A/C and left the windows and doors open.

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