I plodded along, listening to podcasts in hopes they would make the miles go faster. They didn’t help much. By mid-afternoon I felt drained.
When I reached Smith Gap Road I came upon a couple of men talking. One of them, a guy known as Mechanical Man, mentioned he had spent a long time talking with Stick. This didn’t surprise me.
As I was leaving, Mechanical Man’s large Doberman suddenly became aggressive, barking loudly and lunging at me. I backed away to let it know I was not a threat. I made sure of this because I’ve heard of hikers being bitten by dogs so badly that the hikers had to get off the trail.
The dog continued to bark, but Mechanical Man just looked on, making no effort to control it.
Though I was able to walk away without harm, the dog continued to bark. Mechanical Man just laughed.
"Thanks for enjoying my dog,” he shouted to me as I continued down the trail.
I didn’t answer him, and based on what I was thinking, that was just as well.
Finally, a couple things happened late in the afternoon to brightened my day.
First, I met Pippi, whom I hadn’t seen in several days. It was good to catch up with her.