I woke up surprisingly fit today. I would have thought the sore spots on my shoulders from the straps of my pack would hurt more, but they actually hurt less today than they did yesterday. There's a point about halfway through our hike out to the car this morning that I actually tried jogging a bit down a straight section of the trail. I could have done it if my pack had fit more snuggly. I took the lead for most of the trail and actually outpaced Daniel and Mickey for most of it, although they started keeping pace with me at the end. That's my thing. I'll kick your ass on any flat section or gentle downhill. Just don't ask me to go up anything. Still, I would have expected to wake up stiff and hurting this morning after yesterday's longer hike and strenuous climb, but I didn't. I feel good.
Of course, when we took a break at Glassmine Gap before taking the last few miles from the AT to the car, I finally did start to stiffen up. After Mickey finished his cheese and bread, I strapped on my pack and started to walk down the trail only to realize that my hips didn't want to move very much. Of course they loosened up like stiff muscles do after a few steps and I made it out without any trouble. It's just weird that they'd have objected to the two or three miles of gentle downslope this morning and not to the brutal climb or long walk yesterday. The hike out may have been prettier than the ridge, if only because the sun had started to break up the fog finally during our morning of hiking. It had still been foggy when we broke camp around 9 a.m., but by 10, it was sunny at Glassmine. I also like the valley hikes where you tend to follow streams as the tumble down off the mountains instead of just high up on a ridge. About midway through this last stretch, we came upon what must have been an old homestead. There was a clearing and on one end of it was an apple tree with a few apples still hanging from it. The tree was ancient, and huge by apple tree standards. It'd been a long time since someone had tended it and we found no evidence of the house that surely must have been here at some point.
After that, it was just more hiking downhill with the occasional crossing of a shallow stream. We made it back to the car around 11, loaded up and headed home.