8/30, Day 123, Andover to South Arm Road (Andover), 9.9 miles
Our 4th month on the trail! AWOL cooked pancakes for breakfast. The best celebration was meeting friends from California. Marta and Bert flew to Albany, rented a car and drove to see us, bring CA plums and cookies. We ate and did errands (Marcia’s shoes did not arrive so Bert will reorder) and all of us drove to the trailhead. Even before we got out of the car Marta was giving us names for plants. All four of us headed north on the AT on beautiful trail. When it was time for them to turn around I really had a pang of homesickness. It has been so long since I’ve seen friends and family. So I hiked with renewed vigor to finish this trek.
We found the trail nicely graded and easy to hike until Hall Mtn Lean-to. Then as we started up Moody Mtn the trail turned very steep. The guide said we would climb 1200 feet in .8 mi. Ken’s altimeter indicated that we were climbing 33 feet per minute. I could keep that up by putting my head down and working for 36 minutes. The trail got steeper and I was kicking steps into the damp dirt like I would for climbing in snow. The trail got steeper and we found vertical log ladders to ascend, then we graduated to heavy metal rods shaped into rungs and cemented into the rock face, and then finally stone steps. We rolled over the top and then went down 1000 feet almost as steeply, rock hopped a stream and were at the road. Temptation was too great as it was our 7 pm quitting time so we went back to Andover. We had carried our full packs all day so I cooked a trail dinner, then showered, and slept in a bed again tonight.