11-3-12

Days since my thruhike began: 199
AT miles hiked today: 9.9
Total AT miles hiked: 1784.1
Miles to complete my thruhike: 400.1

I'm at the Rod Hollow Shelter, with Stonewall (I thought he was ahead of us!), plus other thruhikers and some weekend hikers. We had a nice fire and told stories and Stonewall is still playing his ukelele out there with a little audience. We have hung tents and a rainfly around a sleeping section under the loft area of the shelter. There are a lot of people here. It is the weekend, so I shouldn't be surprised, but it is very cold, so I am kind of surprised at the numbers. The news said these temperatures are more like the end of November, not the beginning. Maybe the temps will flip and warm up for the end of the month and the end of my hike.

It was hard leaving the Bears Den Hostel. I would come back and rent a place, or stay again, or rent the whole place out. I bought one of their patches. The hostel is in a stone castle building, run by the ATC, overseen by a caretaker couple, and it is very nice while also affordable. I sang in the acoustically engineered living room and played the piano. It was fun to check all the pictures on the boards and the signed posters (I signed the one for 2012). I also took pictures of the building yesterday. It is a neat place and I met some really great people there and said goodbye to Nomad once again, but this time I believe it really is the last. He finished his thruhike in Harpers Ferry and he said it's getting cold. I'll miss him.

I got lost all by myself today. I missed a turn up the last hill that was not marked well for Southbounders, and I guess I wasn't really paying attention as I was listening to an audio book to finish out the "roller coaster", which Shahanu called the "trolls teeth" in a register. That is more fitting, actually, because I like roller coasters. This roller coaster is just 13.5 miles of climbing up and down ridges that are shaped like trolls teeth. I agree with Shahanu. Other than getting lost and the abundance of water, today was most remarkable for the cold. I think it's only in the forties, with a wind chill factor lowering it further. Somebody is snoring. Time for the earplugs.