AT miles hiked today: 6.8
Total AT miles hiked: 1527.2
Miles to complete my thruhike: 657.0
I'm trying to sleep in Bake Oven Knob Shelter and it's still raining outside after a half day of hiking in the cold, heavy rain. It was so cold in the rain today, that when I stopped for lunch at this shelter my hands began to ache and burn as they warmed up. It is hypothermic weather and Eagle Eye and I both agreed to stop and warm up. I cooked some ramen noodles to have something hot and then got into my dry clothes and bundled into my sleeping bag to try and warm up. Then I napped a little and ate some snacks around 4pm.
About 6pm, Willie Laks showed up again, and brought a guy and a dog with him. The guy was Christopher Godby and his blonde Husky, Lou. Chris was soaking wet in jeans and cotton and his whole body was shaking. Despite this, he stood in the rain and resisted our suggestions to change into dry clothes because he didn't have any dry clothes of his own and he wouldn't wear any of our dry clothes because they were synthetic and not natural fibers. He wouldn't eat anything hot, but ate raw lentils, raw beans and raw oatmeal, which he poured over himself and all over the floor and tossed a handful on the ground for his dog. Finally he sat down on the shelter floor and we found a dirty, but dry t-shirt on the shelter floor, which he did change into. Then he told us he was god, the world is ending anytime, he has two hearts, he has escaped from a mental institution in the past, and the four of us may be the four horsemen. Then he zoned out, staring into the corner blankly.
We chatted with Willie Laks, trying to not act too concerned, but I didn't know what to do. It was getting dark, it was cold and raining, and I thought about trying to leave with Willie because Chris seems schizophrenic and what if he got violent, but I was also worried he might die of hypothermia. By this point he had laid back on the shelter floor and was shaking from the cold. Finally he accepted Eagle Eye's offer that he wrap himself in her tent.
We snuck around back and talked about calling the police so he wouldn't die in the night, but because he finally took off the wet jeans and was wrapped up, we decided not to. Willie really wanted to help out, but it was dark and he had no flashlight or gear to spend the night and he finally hiked back over the rocks in the rain in the dark. That was brave and desperate, but he had no sleeping bag or way to stay warm himself and he had left his cell phone in the car. Once he had made it to his car he texted me to check that we were okay and offered to get supplies and come back tonight. I accepted his offer, and asked for a blanket (natural fibers preferably) for Chris, and some dry clothes, dog food and water because the spring here is very far down the hill.
Eagle Eye and I fed the dog our hot dogs, and he stopped snapping at us and started following us, hoping for more food. He made Eagle Eye nervous because she has been bitten by a dog on the trail and is scared of big dogs. I put down a burlap sack we found in the shelter for Lou (the dog) to lay on. Chris wanted Lou in the shelter, but Lou wouldn't stay. We all settled down, and Lou did get on the sack, which I knew would help keep him warmer. Us girls put ourselves in one corner and piled our various weapons nearby in case Chris were to freak out on us.
Willie texted around 11pm, saying the mountain roads were foggy and would we be okay if he came in the morning instead? Chris said he was warm enough, so we said okay. Then I heard a noise that I finally realized was Lou, licking the rocks to get the rain water. Poor dog. I told Chris that his dog needs water, but he didn't respond, so Eagle Eye got up and as soon as she poured the water, Lou came running and drank it all. She also moved the sack under the eave of the shelter and Lou settled on it. Then, all of us low on water, we tried to sleep. A couple if times in the night Chris startled us when he laughed and said, "God is funny." I was just relieved that God was in a good mood.