Brown Fork Gap Shelter

5-9-12
AT miles hiked today: 9.1
Total AT miles hiked: 153.1

My leg looks better, doesn't it? No doctor needed, though I did have to baby it for a few days and it has a new bug bite on the same spot. Sigh.

Today was really rainy and wet and cold, though I didn't wear my raincoat while hiking, because it makes me too hot and sweaty. I did wear the skirt and for a few hours it felt like it might be keeping the water off my legs, and they weren't cold, but it gathered mud and plastered it on my legs. Then, when I got to "Jacob's Ladder" I clipped up the front and the rest of the skirt clung cold and wet to my legs and hampered my stride. So I clipped it up all around and kept it out of the way the rest of the day. The mud left behind on my legs was stuck like glue and I had to scrape off every little bit with my fingernails. I am not thrilled with the skirt after today, but may not have been happy with anything I wore on my legs.

At Stecoah Gap, a trail angel left a box of Pepsi cans and a garbage bag for the empties. I guess the park officials consider that littering but I stood there on the side of the road, in the pouring rain, rain dripping off my hat and green skirt, guzzling warm Pepsi and thinking it was the best thing I ever drank. I had hiked six and a half miles already and had another two and a half to go. I was making great time despite the slippery rocks, roots and mud, because if I stopped I got cold. After the Pepsi, I flew on up the hill and then handled Jacob's Ladder okay, too, even in the slippery mud.

I hiked the 9.1 miles in five hours, even with a couple mini breaks with Houdini and Pacman. Several hikers were at the shelter for lunch and I already knew I wasn't moving on, so I grabbed a corner and prepared for my first night inside a shelter. First I had to get on dry clothes (waiting until almost everybody had left and then having a lookout for new arrivals) and then I climbed into my sleeping bag to get warm. I spent much of the afternoon in there, and most of the hikers from the last shelter arrived. Crazy Beard and his crew came and built an awesome fire. We sat around it and someone even shared a shot of whiskey until about 10pm and now I'm back in my bag, trying to warm up my butt. I can see my breath. It's going to get cold tonight.