Saturday, December 18, 2010

Taliaferro to Cabin Creeks

Backpack still life

10.6 miles

I'm sitting in my tarp, wrapped in my sleeping bag. It's getting cold again. I had one glorious night last night of above-freezing temperatures, and a beautiful sunny day today, but tonight it is clear and getting colder. Still, the moonlight reflects off the leaves scattered in front of my teepee, and in my layers of down, I am content.

Today the trail reached a rails-to-trails section, a converted railroad bed turned into a bike path. Which is lovely, if you happen to be a neighbor, but not so great for the thru-hiker. The hiking was flat but muddy, paralleling a highway the whole day, sometimes between two different roads, with only a scrim of trees on either side. If I had been a hobo, I would follow the same route, walking down the railroad tracks. I even found an abandoned depot, where hobo me would have spent the night.

At least six packs of unleashed dogs attacked us, or tried to, sent almost into a fervor at the sight of Shadow walking calmly past. They were aggressive, but not enough to challenge an 80-pound wolf-dog. One, an old red pit bull with only three legs, looked as if she would have made the attempt except for a number of defeats in the ring. Now she had drooping dugs hung almost to the ground. She must be good breeding stock. Lesson learned: Georgia has no leash law. Not that there's anything to be done about that.

I wonder if hobos had to fight off packs of hungry dogs. I wonder what the line is between hiker and hobo, even now. I wonder what these people think about us, with our backpacks, nonchalantly strolling past their backyards. Maybe one of them will leave a pie on a windowsill.

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