(Daily Mi: 14.7) Today was if anything more spectacular than yesterday -- although a little crisper, particularly first thing.
Was too big a thing to actually say goodbye to Brother. He smiled. Nice smoking with you.
I was staggered to imagine I was completing this journey.
As I walked, I kept thinking of my northbound companions (Piper, Potato Man, Woodman, the Porkchop, Chile ...) how new this all was to them as they passed through these same thickets of rhodedendron some 9 months ago, how many experiences were still ahead for them.
I hit the USFS parking lot .9 miles below Springer's summit a little before 3 pm. My friend Choo Choo had just arrived to wait for me. We chatted for a moment. I debated ditching my pack, but decided to take it up.
I promptly turned the wrong way out of the lot and had walked a good tenth of a mile before recognizing that I would not find the Trail. I jogged back to the parking lot and immediately saw where the AT continued more or less directly across the road. I turned back onto the Trail at 3:08 and ran to the summit in twelve giddy minutes.
I tagged the plaque at 3:20, posed for the obligatory photos and began my final uncredited walk back down to the parking lot.