AT miles hiked today: 11
Total AT miles hiked: 416.3
It rained last night, but I expected that. We actually backtracked on the AT to get back to a campsite we saw, and if we had just gone forward we would have found the other women, maybe. They tented, too, a few miles ahead of us. But we got started before 8am and they slept in and headed out at 9am. Therefore, we arrived at the hostel just after they did. Tony scouted out a four person cabin with a couch and we took that for the five of us. Later, three women section hikers who plan to hike the AT next year showed up. There are eight women and one guy here. I think usually the male/female numbers are reversed on the trail, so this is fun. Red Data is the guy and he has been here sick for a couple of days. He is feeling better and plans to hike out tomorrow. It is probably that norovirus that the CDC was investigating back around Erwin, TN. Anyway, we stayed at Uncle Johnny's and didn't get it, I see no reason why any of us should get it now.
We are planning a 14 mile slack pack over Pond Mountain and back to the hostel tomorrow. Then a 19-ish mile day. It will be my record. Then on to Damascus, VA, a state I will be in for over 500 miles. I am ahead of Houdini, for once. The best hikers don't always get ahead. Sometimes the slow persistent turtles can pull ahead of the jackrabbits. :)
There are a bunch of cats and three raccoons who have names who are hanging out with me on the porch. The raccoons are cool and freaky wild at the same time. They have names but I don't remember them. The day white cat went to the raccoon, hissed and smacked it. Then the cat walked away, satisfied,I guess. Bob Peoples is very nice and he shuttled us to town for supplies and pizza and food. He suggests a flip flop hike this year due to the lack of snow last winter and therefore the inevitable drought in the mid-Atlantic states this summer. If you struggle to get water, it's a very big deal.
I think it's decided. If I can afford to finish my hike and afford to flip flop, I will. I wish money hadn't become an issue, but everything costs more than I had anticipated. I will walk as far as I can afford to, though, and raise as much as I can for Rhubarb's Angel fund. I feel so lucky to be able to do this. I am making memories and friendships and realizations that will affect me the rest of my life. Who knew I could really walk over 400 miles? I didn't until I did it. I believe I can walk over 2000 miles and finish this trail, too.
In the meantime, I've realized that I like people after all, and we are a wonderful group as a whole. I have faith in humans again. What a blessing that realization is.