In a previous post; Greenwood Spur (MST) The Journey Begins I share my weekend backpacking trip. Finally after some busy weeks at work and weekends of hiking I’ve found the time to finish my story. Last we left off I had reached the old fire tower where I stopped to take a break and eat some lunch…
The spot was quiet and now the sound of traffic is no longer heard. There is only the peaceful silence of nature. Until…from in the distance I hear someone shout, HEY! I scan my horizon looking for signs of human life. Unless the Sasquatch was yelling for me to give up my Jack Link’s beef jerky and was about to body slam me. I continued to scan my horizon and saw movement coming from the opposite direction of the trail. I couldn’t make out what or who it was, all I knew… they or it was heading in my direction.
Suddenly I see movement coming from the opposite direction of the trail. A small hiking party of six people. Now, of the all the people I could run into while out solo packing, this was the most unlikely group. Yet, for this area I guess it wasn’t. They all matched in color; blue and black. As I sat with my head covered in a red bandana to keep it from burning, I shave my head in the summer, I noticed this group also had their heads covered….in bonnets. This unlikely group turned out to be Amish. Eighty five degrees and they were wearing dresses and bonnets. They looked at, stared even, as if they were nervous to go any further. I mean, why, I was an Englishman carrying a pack, two metal sticks, my head covered in some red fabric and some piece of modern technology strapped to my pack strap (my gps). Oh, and I was sweating like a pig. I waved. They did not. Instead they turned around and went back the way they came. Little did they know I was about to head in that very direction. Since they seemed uncomfortable with my presence I decided to give them a head start and give us plenty of space between them and me.
Finally I put my pack on again ready to continue. It was 12:30 and I still had plenty of day light before hitting my camping spot for the night. I refer to my trail guide to get my bearing and distance. I’ve read it enough but when on the trail the information seems to blend together. When backpacking it’s always good to carry and refer to your trail guide.
“STEEP DESCENT, NO SWTICH BACKS” Great, not what I was hoping for but then again I knew this trail would be a roller coaster.
I thought I gave my Amish trail friends a bit of a head start. They were packless, I was not. You’d think their pace would out match mine. I was wrong…
Eventually I caught up with them. I made some subtle noises with my trekking poles to get their attention bit startle them. One of them looked back, took notice of me with wide eyes and then whispered to her friend. I’d like to think she was saying; “Here comes a real man trekking through the woods,” smiling from ear to ear while saying it. Most likely though, she was saying. “oh no, here comes that cray looking Englishman with the red bonnet.”
I reached the Allen Seeger Natural Area parking lot and took a moment to stock up my water supply at a nearby spring. At this point the Amish hikers and I had separated a they climbed into a passenger van filled with other Amish. As I walked by I felt eyes of ten plus Amish staring at me and I wondered what they were thinking. On second thought…I didn’t want to know.
I still had a few miles to go before reaching camp for the night. My goal was to reach Detwiler Run where the Greenwood Spur connects. There I would locate a good spot to set up my tent for the night.
The journey continues…