I've learned that there are lots of things that can harm you while out on the AT and at the top of that list is stupidity. Let me explain... when hiking the AT in the middle of August your top priority is staying hydrated and having access to fresh water. This is why I carefully plan out each trip to make sure I don't forget anything important. After hiking about 5.6 miles we finally stop for a short break at the Tray Mountain Shelter.
I have always heard that this time of year you need to fill up on water any chance you get since many of the water sources that are listed in the guide books may be dry. I unzip my pack to get my water filter out and my heart skips a beat... it's not there. I had inadvertently left it back at the hotel room. I break the news to Bruce and he reassures me that we will be fine. We each only had about half of our water left in our hydration packs and 11 miles left to hike. I really felt like I had let us down big time by endangering us to dehydration... a bad thing to encounter in the middle of nowhere. Bruce, always the optimist, insisted we would be okay and I decided to take his advice... what other option did we have? If we get desperate we could always drink directly from a water source along the trail and just risk all of the bad stuff that can happen by drinking unfiltered stream water. It was my mistake... one that I will never let happen again.