AT miles hiked today: 3.5
Total AT miles hiked: 17.7 (approximately)
I have to empty my bladder but it's cold and windy outside, with some rain, so I'm staying warm for a few minutes longer and writing instead. I was awake before 5:00, and started packing up the explosion of gear inside my tent because I didn't want to start another day in heavy rain like yesterday. I thought I might at least get my tent down before it gets soaked. But it's dark and cold and it's only going to be a 3.5 mile day if all goes to plan. Plus, I have to wait until a reasonable hour to call the hostel while I have phone service and make sure there is a bunk available for me to reserve. Even if there is a bunk the shuttle doesn't come until 5pm, assuming they're open on Sundays. Please be open on Sundays!
I need to dry my stuff out, including my guidebook, which was in a ziploc with my kindle and it got torn and everything inside got wet. Luckily the kindle still works, but the guidebook pages are wet and may be ruined if I can't dry them out. I haven't had time to read at all yet, but I'll keep the kindle for now.
The logistics are difficult with the bear canister rule in the upcoming section of trail. I don't have one, so I can't camp there. Otherwise it wouldn't need to be such a long day including Blood Mountain. I could also hike about 7 miles today and camp and then do it again, but I need to dry out and I would love clean clothes and a shower and to send home some weight that I don't need and then do another 10 mile day. I am a stinky girl! Hey, the birds are singing and it's getting light outside! Time to do my business in the woods.
I'm all clean and dry and my clothes are clean and everything is dry. Happy sigh. I feel amazing and ready to hit the trail tomorrow. I had Subway for dinner and stocked up on Idahoan instant mashed potatoes, protein and nut bars, sour patch kids, and cheese and pepperoni sticks. I also decided to ditch the Ursack. With the liner it was huge and awkward in my backpack and I couldn't get it to balance right. Without the liner it was still heavy and would not dry out! Not cool. When I get to the outfitter at Neel Gap, I will probably buy a dry bag to hang my food in. Nobody that I know has lost their food yet, and some sleep with it in their tents! I'd rather lose my food then have a bear check out my tent. Just take it okay, bear? You obviously need it more anyway.
Josh ended up at the hiker hostel tonight as did a guy who blew out his knee on his second 10 mile day. Or did they do two 15 mile days? Either way, he is off the trail now, not sure about his buddy. Met a guy named Brian who got to the same place, Woody Gap, in two days by hiking 14 miles to avoid the cold weather tonight. Brian and Josh are staying at the hostel tomorrow. Josh to lower the weight of his 70 plus pound backpack, and Brian because he can barely walk now after his 14 mile day.
I am continually reminded to "start slow and slow down" as I've seen recommended on whiteblaze.net. So, I'm hiking 10.5 miles tomorrow.
I also am shipping stuff home tomorrow. I'll have to see how much weight I'm losing from my pack. I hope my pack is under 40 pounds now. I'm almost convinced to send home the heavy camera and see what kind of light weight option well give me the most similar options, but I can't quite do it. I will suffer a lot for my art, and send home other things instead.