7 worst miles of the journey so far


Good Morning Rays to start my hike this morning. 


This is one of the many reasons I love to get up early and start my day. 


What I though was going to be the end of my day turned into the beginning of the worst 7 miles of the whole trip so far. 

I arrived at the shelter destination for the day. It was .2 miles off the trail down Hawk Mountain Road at a man’s house. The guide book said there was a shower, flush toilet, spigot and enclosed bunkhouse. Sounds pretty nice. I am by no means a girly-girly but I was not going to stay there. It looked like an old wood shed. Which would have been fine minus all the cob webs, ants, wasps and spiders. Not to mention each bunk had some kind of cloth padding that looked like it hadn’t been dry since since Noah left the ark. My plans were to tent anyways so I could rise and shine early and not disturb the other hikers since I have already been yelled at for making too much noise in the morning. The shower and bath house were not more of an improvement so I decided to fill my water and tent at the next tent site only half mile up the trail. 

Those plans ended when I saw the site filled with four guys already set up. 3 running around in there boxers and the fourth chopping wood. I girl knows when she shouldn’t stick around. I could still feel them staring as I walked on. I could also here their whispers. I needed to get as much space and time between us possible. They were weekend hikers out for a good time and I wanted no part of it. 

The next shelter was 7 miles out. No problem. I had plenty of daylight and I felt great. I just needed to eat. After an hour of hiking I came to a really nice camping area and sat to have a snack. While there I noticed a deer bedding down about 60 yards in the ferns. He never left the whole time I was there. 



It was nicer seeing him then the rattle snake I saw 30 minutes prior. I had to step back several times for him to do his thing. Kilroy, a hiker I just me at that shelter was just watching the rattler so he was able to warn me then waited for my safe passage. Later he stopped for a break and I hiked on and was able to show him the deer. Team work. 

After my snack at the deer viewing site the terrain became increasing worse. Rocks and more rocks and even more. Small jagged rocks strewn over the trail. Large Boulder fields that never ended. 


 This went on for 5 miles with the exception of about 1/4 mile easy stretch. At one point I hiked along a 30 foot wall that was the top of the ledge, all rocks. 

  I was thankful we didn’t have to scale that. 

I arrived at the shelter exhausted, thirsty and too tired to eat. Kilroy fetched water for me so I had enough for breakfast and. 

I was ready for shut-eye but the four section hikers decide they needed to play cards until 10pm. So tired. But at least I am safe, wish I could say dry. To humid for that. But at least I am not cold. Good night. 

Happy Hiking

Emily M. Leonard

About Emily M. Leonard

I am a 50 year old Maine native and lover of the outdoors. Former Physical Education teacher and soccer coach. I am Married to the best husband ever and gave up teaching and coaching to raise our two wonderful sons. I have always enjoyed being outside and on the go.