5/10 Beauty Spot Campground (12.8)

May 10, 2013 at 1:22 pm

We got up feeling refreshed today and had a slow morning, as Mark is still recovering (but much better). The shuttle driver who gave us a ride brought to our attention one of the more eccentric quirks of Southern fauna when he asked us “are you guys ready for the Cicadas?” We were hard pressed to answer, since neither of us had much experience with Cicadas beyond a children’s book I read in first grade that painted them in a fairly positive light. Apparently, though, while they are great material for telling a story about a grasshopper with collages, they are not good bugs to run into in real life. They are giant roach-like bugs that climb out of the earth and cover all surfaces in the South during the summer. They will be underfoot everywhere in a wild frenzy to mate and their trampled bodies and creepy molted exoskeletons will litter the trail. They also evidently make an otherworldly racket. Why haven’t we been warned more about this horrific occurrence? Because they only appear every 12 years. And we picked the right year. So far, our last week on the AT has brought us lightning and pestilence and now threatens us with locusts. We have been trying to discern any antisemitism that might be implicit in thru-hiking to warrant such punishment, but we’re coming up empty handed. In the meantime we are counting ourselves as fortunate to both be second-born children.
Hiking today went smoothly despite Mark’s slight dehydration and the perpetual thunderstorms that have followed us through Tennessee. We found ourselves camping in no time and hatching a new and improved plan to make it to Damascus in time for trail days. It’s going to mean some longer days but we’re ready for a challenge.