Chattooga – Part 15

7 01 2007

…continued from Sunday, December 31.

Every moment of time spent in the drenching deluge was watery torture. Two bodies sat with heads between knees discussing the options afforded them. Option number one: build a small fire, attempt to cook dinner, lie under a poorly constructed “tent” and sleep in the middle of nowhere less then ten feet from the river. Option number two: pack all the stuff up, head farther down the trail, try to locate the camping area by Licklog Falls, set up the “tent”, somehow eat dinner and manage to get some sleep. Option number three: pack up all the stuff, backtrack the five miles to Burrell’s Ford Campground, find the girls there and take them up on their offer of hot dinner, set up the “tent” again and get some shuteye. After many minutes of debate, a unanimous decision to head back up the trail fueled the grueling task of breaking everything down and packing it all up.

Seven o’clock had already passed when walking resumed and over four and a half miles of trail lay ahead. Dark would relay its greeting before any of the girls would. Less than two hours and several missteps over gnarly roots later, the first campsites (or last as seen before) came into view. The tiring pace drained bodies and caused legs and backs to ache under the strain of thirty-five pound backpacks. Thirteen miles in one day and only eight miles of progress to show for it.

The river ran barely visible left of the tired company. No audible sound could be heard due to the depth of the water. Walking in the dark beside a quiet river can be best described as eerie, not unlike a trip through a ghost town devoid of life. The now familiar right turn into the heart of the campground and the sight of the large campfire were welcoming.

Check back soon for the next installment…