AT miles hiked today: 12.9
Total AT miles hiked: 230.1
Non AT miles: .5 coming from shelter
I think that picture is of blooming Rhododendrons. Anybody know?
Yesterday I was so full of myself, hiking faster than day hikers with their small packs, thruhiker extraordinaire. Today kicked my butt and reigned in my hiker ego. Ouch! I dragged myself slowly up the mountain wondering what had happened to my trail legs. When I finally got up the five miles to the next shelter I had to stop and have a snack and regroup. It turns out everybody else was struggling, too, and it was a significant elevation gain. Then the downhill was basically a riverbed, sometimes dry rocks, other times it was mud or water, and rocks, for a long time. That hammered my feet pretty hard.
I still hiked it all in seven hours.
There is a couple named Jennifer and Dan at the shelter tonight. They are on their honeymoon and they built a fire, and made s'mores and gave me one in my bunk. Thanks you guys! Don't ask a thruhiker if they want food unless you really want to share because they pretty much always say yes.
I spent some of the day trying to get phone service to arrange a ride to the hiker gathering called Trail Days, which is held every year in Damascus, Virginia. Finally, on the top of Cosby Knob I got phone service (yay Verizon!) and it worked out that we have a ride. Trail Days will introduce us to all the other AT hikers, and the community we have joined by hiking this trail. I am in the class of 2012 even though I haven't completed the trail yet. Also, it's a big tenting party for hikers with bands and vendors and free food and gear manufacturers fixing your stuff. Then there is the hiker parade/massive water fight with the locals.
This morning, at the last shelter, somebody noticed a mouse in Slaughter's pack. She was still in bed, and #5 smacked the side of the pack.Then we all stared, but nothing happened. So #5 pulled down the top of the outside pocket and its nose poked out a couple of times. Slaughter heard our giggles and whispers and woke up just in time to see the mouse launch straight up and out of her pack, right at Oakridge's face. He jumped back, as did all of us and we laughed and screamed, and it landed and ran back to the sleeping area. It must have gone another two feet higher than the already hanging pack and fallen about eight feet. Now that is truly a flying ninja mouse. It ate some nuts she accidentally left in her pack and chewed through her shirt, too. That was such a funny image and I kept picturing the flying mouse and laughing while hiking today. I'll try to learn from her mistake while I laugh, but it was really funny.