Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Pinhoti Trail Day 20

I got a nice early start today, due to traffic on the road. The rest of the trail was just roadwalk to get to Flagg Mountain. On the way I had two different people tell me I was going the wrong way. Apparently all the locals are used to people only going nobo, and they thought I had gotten turned around.

The terminus was pretty confusing, no real sign saying the trail ended. The trail right now goes up Flagg Mountain on a road, then turns off of the road onto another trail and ends there, with the blazing switching over to yellow blazes. There is a kiosk, but it doesn't say "End of Pinhoti" or anything like that. Anyway, I followed that yellow trail for a ways, then schwacked up the mountain, found some old abandoned cabins, and cut across to the Flagg Mountain Fire Tower and decided that was good enough.

I ended up taking the road back down Flagg Mountain to get to a road with some traffic, hoping to hitch a ride out to civilization. I had just made up a destination sign, when a guy in a pickup pulled over and told me that I was faster than they had thought. I was quite confused, having no clue who this was, or why they thought I would be slower. He identified me and said that I had talked to someone a few days ago about getting a ride out. I had no clue who he was talking about, and I didn't recognize the name he gave, but hey, if he's offering me a ride out I'll take it. He ended up giving me a ride over Flagg Mountain, and pointed out several details about new trail being built in the area.

On the way back to his house I finally realized that the hiker 'BCM' that I had met a few days earlier in Cheaha had arranged to have me picked up. He had recruited Kent to help me out by taking me back to his house and letting me clean up. Kent is active in the local trail maintaining groups, and a wonderful trail angel. Also, it turns out that I had spent last night about a quarter mile from his house. Instead of sleeping by the bridge in Stewartville, I could have walked over and spent the night at his house.

Once I was cleaned and very well fed, BCM drove over after he got out of work in Birmingham to pick me up. He offered to take me to a bus station, either Oxford (closer), or Birmingham (more convenient for him). He ended up taking me to the Birmingham greyhound, and the end of my Pinhoti trip. He made probably a 2 hour round trip to help me out, all because I mentioned in passing to him on the trail that I was planning on hitching a ride after I was done. Definite major trail angel work right there.

360.7 miles down

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