From Black Water Swamps to White Sandy Beaches

From Black Water Swamps to White Sandy Beaches

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Pearl Campsite to Past the Clearcut---April 7th

Up five times during the night to rush into the woods, squat and impersonate a human faucet.  A bit drained by the time morning rolled round and we began our 25-mile road walk.  This ought to be fun.  Retracing our steps from yesterday, this time with packs on our backs, we revisited WalMart to resupply.  After a breakfast of chocolate milk, apple fritters and a banana eaten while sitting on the benches inside the air-conditioned store, we went further into town. 
The Crestview Downtown Historic District was a testament to the demise of small town America and a stark reminder of how the economic downturn has hit ordinary people.  There was very little commercial activity, though to be fair, it was still a little early.  However, no excuses can be made for several empty stores containing for rent or lease signs prominently displayed in the windows.  If I remember correctly, a couple of places were just boarded up. 
We wanted to get to the local library, but when I asked a shopkeeper for directions he told me it was about two miles away on the edge of town.  We already had a long day planned, so we couldn't afford the four mile detour.  As luck would have it, on our way out of town we saw a McDonalds that had Wi-Fi.  Jon could access the internet on his I-Phone.  When I checked my inbox, the confirmation of my reservation at the Hiker Hostel in Dahlonega was waiting.  The beginning of my Appalachian Trail thru-hike was now set.  Great news!
A few minutes after leaving McDs, we were out of Crestview.  Oh god, the awful march down US 90!  At least the towns of Milligan, Holt and Harold broke up the terrible trek into more manageable units and more importantly for me provided down time in the bathrooms of their petrol stations.  There was also a flat area and side road along the power line which allowed us to avoid the passing traffic and offered a bit more shade.  From time to time, I still had to dash into the bushes to relieve my intestinal troubles.
Once in Harold, we had a some trouble trusting the orange blazes because they didn't jibe with what was in the data book.  The explanation for this, as we soon discovered, was that the trail had been rerouted.  You no longer hiked to the US 90/ SR 87 junction, but instead headed south, crossing above the I-10 and then entering a large clearcut on the other side of the overpass.  It was a race to cross this barren land before nightfall.  We reached the trees with daylight to spare, but could not find a suitable campsite.  Finally, after a good deal of searching, we settled on a little cut out on a dirt road near the trail.  I quickly put up the tent and after crawling inside, barely had enough strength left to zip up the mosquito netting before I was out.  Done!       

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