11-15-12

Days since my thruhike began: 211
AT miles hiked today: 16.1
Total AT miles hiked: 1910.9
Miles to complete my thruhike: 273.3

I've hiked over 1900 miles! All you readers who are waiting to donate to Best Friends until I finish the whole AT had better get ready! Despite the cold and blisters and everything else, I'm going to finish my thruhike, and the money you donate by using the "Donate Now" button on the right sidebar of my blog will go to the clinic at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, so please be generous if you are able.

This morning I sterilized a safety pin with my lighter and drained the blister on my heel. I think I'll leave off the ankle brace until this blister heals. My ankle feels better than my heel does right now. I made it 1900 miles without a real blister, and NOW I get one? Sheesh. Could it be my new shoes? My feet sweat a lot more in these waterproof shoes, which also don't fit as well as my Brooks Cascadia 7 trail runners do.

As I hiked up and away from the hut this morning I saw frozen water growing out of the ground like ice flowers. They are beautiful, but soon were replaced by thoughts of the Ming Dynasty chinese buffet dancing in my head. I've been hearing legends of this buffet in Waynesboro since my hike began and we are all trying to get there by 7pm tonight to clear out the buffet with our incredible thruhiker eating abilities.

It warmed up a bit during the day today. I couldn't even see my breath and there was no frost on the leaves. Calf Mountain was very pretty, almost a bald, and then I saw a lovely pink sunset from Bear Mountain through the bare trees. After that, the nice, smooth trail of the Shenandoahs turned into rocks. Oh well. I guess I've been spoiled.

Eagle Eye and I are 3.7 miles short of Waynesboro now. Mary, my friend and choir director back in Utah, has friends in Waynesboro that she helped me connect with ahead of time. Don and Jeanmarie are true trail angels. We got to a crossing of Skyline drive at dark and realized we would be late to the buffet, and also, the thought of night hiking another mountain and two more hours in this cold just made me miserable, so we called them. They offered to come pick us up if the road wasn't closed, and we gratefully accepted. We paced back and forth in the cold to stay warm for the 20 minutes it took them to arrive. They took us to their house to drop our stuff and get cleaned up a bit, then agreed to join us at the buffet, which was fantastic. I claim it as the best Chinese buffet I've ever been to, even off the trail, because it's the first one I've been to that has sushi! Yay!

Stonewall surprised us by showing up after initially deciding not to, so we crowded him, Funguy, Terranauta, Mandela, Don, Jeanmarie, Eagle Eye and I all around the table. Then we proceded to each inhale several plates piled with yummy food. Don and Jeanmarie finished eating and watched in wonder (and horror?) as we emptied plate after plate of food. Finally we were so full we could hardly move, and the others hobbled off to their hotel room. Don and Jeanmarie took us back to their warm home and a soft bed. Thank you!

Earlier today Eagle Eye had said she poked her eye last night gathering wood for the fire, but she thought it was just bruised. I looked at it tonight and saw a ripple in the clear covering of the eyeball, to the left of and above her cornea, as well as a red line that looked like a broken blood vessel. I said I thought it was scratched and she should probably get it examined and get some drops or something, to prevent infection. Everything is so dirty on the trail, I think it's better to be safe.