Sunday, March 25, 2012

Pinhoti Trail Day 11

I woke up early this morning to make it into the small town of Cave Springs for breakfast. It was only a couple miles, and I arrived right on time. I wasn't sure where in town the meeting was, just some restaurant or diner, so I wandered around a bit, then called Rick. Apparently he had gotten lost, following blazes along the roadwalk into town. Not good for a trail maintainer.

Once I figured out which place to go, I stopped to set my pack down. Two guys came out and called me in, saying they had a meeting going on, not realizing that Rick had already invited me.

The meeting was interesting (I didn't stay for the whole thing). It was nice to see the behind the scenes deskjob type stuff that maintainers do to keep a trail open. I've been on a few trail crews and work trips, but I was always just doing the stuff in the field, nothing dealing with routing or land issues.
I also got to add my two cents to the meeting, having a fresh pair of eyes and boots on the trail, having just (almost) finished hiking through their area. I mentioned a few spots that needed clarification, as well as overall increases in blazing. The main issue just seemed to be limited manpower, so feel free to volunteer for the Pinhoti .

One thing I really wanted to find out about was the waterfall area that I missed and backtracked in several days ago. It turns out that I had been on a horse by-pass area that goes around private land that the waterfall area is on. The turnoff only had an arrow going one way, with no indication that it wasn't for hikers. It seems like the problem is that most of the maintaining is being done by bikers, who use the bypass. The other problem is that very few people hike sobo, so most of the signage is for nobo hikers. At the south end of the trail the bypass was clearly marked, but not really explained what was going on.

After the breakfast and meeting I headed out of town. According to a set of maps from Mr. Parkay, there was a Dollar General on the way out of town, that I planned on resupplying at. Unfortunately I was about 2 miles outside of town before I realized that the trail had been re-routed, and the store wasn't on the trail anymore. I looked at my options and decided to make do with the leftover food that I had, and instead continue on and hitch a ride into a town later on. I was originally planning on just resupplying at the places that were on-trail, since it saves a lot of time, but this wasn't really an option 

The way out of town was all roadwalk, until the last few miles of the day. One I got back into the woods there was a shelter a few miles in. This was a shorter day, but with a late start due to the breakfast and meeting. Also, the shelters are set up roughly a day apart, so once I stayed at one shelter I would hit several. If I had kept going for a longer day today I would have been in between shelters for the next few nights.

In the afternoon a trail maintainer passed the shelter and stopped to say hi. He was out repainting blazes along the trail, and was part of the Alabama Pinhoti club. He shared a bit about the upcoming trail and I thanked him for his hard work before he left.

185.1 miles down

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