We camped out the night before, and left the campground at 6:15am. Kemper volunteered to drive us down to Hwy 40. I miscalculated the time it would take to get to Hwy 40, that mixed in with not being able to find the right trailhead lead to an 8:07am start. I began hiking up Snowbird Mtn with Greg, and John. This was Johns first attempt at a 50k trail. We stuck together for the first few miles, and then Greg took off. This section of the AT resembled the Dow Jones index the last few days, steep ups and downs. When we reached an area that looked like the parking lot we didn’t see Greg. I had the key, and I knew he would want water. Me and John kept going for a while, and then decided to head back to the car, no Greg. John spent 10 min and then took off. I stayed back for another 10 min answering the call of nature. When I headed back towards Max Patch I took the Max Patch loop trail which was a mistake, and then the AT junctioned at the end of that trail. I decided to turn away from Hot Springs for a while so get to the summit of Max Patch as I have never been there, and head back.
The clouds reduced visibility to maybe 40 feet, so I didn’t hang out to see the views. It was in the 30’s at Max Patch and I was getting cold, so I quickly moved towards Hot Springs. After a few miles Greg startled me by tugging on the back of my pack. I thought to myself, How did he get behind me? He explained that he backtracked back to the car. We must have missed each other while I was on the loop trail. We both kept trucking along, hiking and running for a while. I gave Greg a bottle of water as I knew he might be short on fluids. After a few miles I decided to start running harder to try and catch up with John. I crossed the road into Hot Springs at 4:47pm, 8:40 minutes after we started in Hwy 40. Now I had to hike a mile into the campgrounds. I later found out John had finished 12 minutes before, which is amazing for a first time ultra runner, way to go John!
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