I’m back again from our third expedition. On this trip we hiked up Backbone Rock to the Appalachian Trail. We returned on the Iron Mountain Trail, continuing to the Academy Trail, which led back to our school. We encountered various terrain; such as slippery rocks and mud. Also the weather was very unpredictable. We had a wide variety of “wetness” on our trek.

The first day we were dropped off at Trail 54 by Mr. Kevin, where we then hiked up to the Iron Mountain Trail for a half-hour past Miracle Springs. We continued our trek, mainly downhill to Backbone Rock where we almost quite literally “climbed” up the “stairmaster” to the Appalachian Trail. There we camped at the AT Saddle Camp where we were all sore and exhausted from the seven-mile hike. That night we all ate very little in order to get as much sleep as possible.

Our second day was not nearly as gruesome as the first. Although we were still sore from the last hike, the sleep greatly revitalized our stamina for this day’s hike. We awoke to a cold morning with clear skies and a slight breeze. As we hiked down into the creek valley for water, the temperature seemed to drop further. It was not far, but it was a steep descent to get to the creek.

After getting the water and a hot meal into us, we continued our hike along the Appalachian Trail past one of many shelters and camped for the night on an old logging road down the mountainside. In total we ended up walking four and a half miles that day.

Day three we awoke to a slight drizzle of rain, which, according to Mr. Mike, started at 12:15 in the morning. Since the rain had continued throughout the day, Mr. Mike decided that we would stay at the camp an extra day because the conditions made hiking too dangerous. During this day we fought to keep our fires going and had classes. After class we were given free time in which we migrated to each other’s campsites and talked. That night it was cloudy and cool, a sign of upcoming rain.

We awoke on day four to rain, yet again. This also held out for the entire day. Our trail was steep. Going down slippery rocks and unstable mud made the trail more visible, yet more dangerous. When we finally made it down the traverse we made our way through the thick forest guided by a small creek. With break came silence, as we regained our strength. I looked around me seeing the foggy treetops, the moss covered logs, and the dew filled leaves; and I thought, “this is what blind people want to see, this is where lame people want to walk, this is a magical place.”

After leaving that forest, we started down Birch Branch and hiked past an abandoned house with an old truck next to it. Then we saw the “rustic” log cabin. Each log was split and placed by hand. We camped not far beyond that, where we were placed next to an old logging road with a decaying bridge next to it.

Day five began the same as the others, wet. We began our hike uphill through a low cloud and had to break a path through many places. Following the ridge of the Iron Mountain Trail half of our team missed the trail head of Academy Trail. When we were regrouped and moving down the steep traverse, we were given warnings such as: “It is slippery down here.” More than one of us fell going down that hill. We were very relieved when we reached camp.

Day six, the final day. We awoke to the worst of the rainy cold days. It was a combination of snow, rain, and sleet. At 11:15 we left our camps and hiked down the road back to the school, we did a total of 23 and a half miles.

Well that’s all for now.

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