June 15, 2013 (part 1)

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I had gone back and forth on what to pack and chose my summer weight sleeping bags since the lows were supposed to be in 60s…. but it was much colder and neither of us slept wonderfully. We did sleep in. My bear bag survived any bears, but not a mouse, it got into the bag and chewed through half our breakfast choices. I had over packed food (after the kayak trip a couple of weeks ago) so no worries, we dried out the dew soaked tent and sleeping bags and started back on the AT.

The first part of the day promised 2.5 miles of steady climbing to reach the grass covered Stone Mountain at promising vistas, but we crossed a horse trail that cut about a mile off and followed a ridge. I was glad we did, we ran into a herd of free range cattle and quickly made the landmark called, “The Scales”, an old corral and stopped for a long snack and chatting up other hikers.

It was here we decided once again to change our plan and hike another horse trail called the Crestview Trail, we were told Pine Mountain Trail was mainly tree covered and the Crestview Trail, while rockier and exposed had wide open vistas. It seemed an easy choice and in the end the right one, with in a quarter mile we saw our first Rhododendron ponies. The Rhododendron ponies are feral ponies that roam freely. This group was just hanging out and rolling in the dirt.

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