the priest 2013 August!

We started our trip on Friday 🙂 the day was beautiful and the temperature was just right!

 

We started pretty much at ground level and climbed up to the top of this here mountain. We camped at the top the first day and then Saturday we hiked down a little way to the priest shelter and then all the way back to the car.

 

 

From the path near the car the sign says that the shelter is 4.8 miles. My fitbit said it was much farther (although there is some question of it’s accuracy while I am climbing because stride length is vastly shortened and I also use my arms with hiking poles. the fitbit sits on my collar line and may be affected by my arm movements. More experiments are necessary to determine the truth)

Most of the path was much more steep than this. I don’t really have many pictures of the path because I was trying to climb and I was saving my battery for pictures at the top and on the way down.

My fitbit says we climbed 213 flights of stairs or roughly 2,130 feet. This appears to be accurate. Reports of elevation change are from 2000-3000 feet.

This was the view of the fog from my hammock. I didn’t get a good pic that *really* detailed the fog because it was just my cell phone.

 

This is a fairly typical set up for our hammocks. The tarp spreads on both sides and stakes down to help keep us warm. We stack the youngest and my hammock so that we can share one tarp.

 

Waiting for the kids to get up. I love the trees and the mountain air and I always feel so pretty when I get up when we are camping. I don’t smell very good but you can’t smell pictures 😉

 

The girl doesn’t really like to be in the woods. She doesn’t have the same “early morning camping hair” that I do and it upsets her!

 

We got up and made a fabulous breakfast. Well the boy did. And Chris loved watching him. .

She likes the fire 🙂

 

We walked out to the overlook and shot some pictures.

The breeze started blowing and I couldn’t help but lift up my face and take it in. The sun shining on my face and the breeze on my hair. That’s heaven to me 🙂

We had to go down (fitbit said coming back up was about 20 flights of stairs) to get to the priest shelter.

 

 

Chris likes to climb a lot 🙂

I tried to get on the roof for a neat family photo. But I don’t climb as well as they do.

Try two. Not at all successful.

He put me on his shoulders and lifted me up to the roof line.  I couldn’t figure out how to get up further.

 

Reading the log book at the shelter. All of the shelters on the AT have log book. This one is set up a lot like a confessional because the shelter is called the priest. Some of the entries were very funny. Many people confessed to killing a lot of ants and black flies.

This was one of the overlooks on the way down.

 

So on the way up we had been warned about a “downed tree” on the trail that was a marker for a bees nest. We had come through this area after dark and I didn’t know that bees are NOT nocturnal so I didn’t believe that this was the tree that we were warned about. I went to step over the crack and continue down the path and it was like I had stepped into a horror movie. The mental image I had when they started swarming was that of when the mini ships descended from the mother ship in independence day. It felt like that Jeff Daniels movie arachnophobia…. but with bees instead of spiders.

I started getting stung and I tried to back up and get away from the bees but I tripped and fell. I finally managed to get up and start running back up the trail. I dropped my bag and hiking poles and just started running. I was screaming like a mad woman. The bees were stuck in my shirt and stinging me through my sweater so I ripped it off and was swinging it around my head to get the bees away.

 

They finally stopped stinging me. Or I got far enough away. Or something. I didn’t realize until the swelling went down that I had been stung at LEAST 23 times.

 

I took these right after I had been stung. I counted 7 stings on my forehead and cheeks. You can’t really see the swelling yet. But my face went totally numb.

I am highly allergic to bees. So when it first happened I took five benedryl. I had to walk the remaining ~3 miles to our car. Luckily I had someone who could drive us home. I wanted to lay down and die. My face went numb and I was having difficulty breathing. I knew that I had to keep moving because if I didn’t then I would not make it to the car.

I ended up taking more benedryl when I got to the car. And more when I got home. I have been taking benedryl around the clock and am contemplating calling the doc to get some prednisone.

I am a big ball of itchy. And I can’t help but scratch. The spots just keep getting bigger. And they ITCH!!!!!

 

It was a fun hike (well until the bees) and I intend to do it again. Especially now that I know where the bees are and how to avoid them.

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