Wayah Bald Shelter

AT miles hiked today: 11
Total AT miles hiked: 120.8

Other miles hiked: town miles, yesterday and today, about 2; and .4 up and down Siler Bald.

What a day. Wendigo and I walked to McDs for breakfast. I got a bacon, egg and cheese bagel, hashbrowns, OJ, and an iced vanilla coffee. Then I walked back to the outfitter to buy a camp towel, which I had forgotten yesterday. Then Wendigo decided to bounce/ship some of his resupply food ahead to himself at Fontana Village, just before the Smokies, and I copied him, thank goodness. That was $20 well spent. Then I decided to leave with the others on the shuttle because it was free and I didn't know what would happen tomorrow. Then I decided to try hiking the 11 miles to the shelter, because everybody else was planning to, even though we didn't get to the trail until about 11:30. I know, I said before that I know better than to play "catch up and keep up." Well, I am competitive and I also thought if I could group up through the Smokies, the whole shuttle thing would be better. I figured I could take a zero after the Smokies.

But it was a hard day, and I struggled with the deadline. They all had fresh, rested legs and feet and two days of town food. I was just sore, but happy with my new gel insoles, and the views. Of course, none of them climbed the very steep Siler Bald like I did. They were all racing to make the miles. I debated....follow the white blaze downhill there, or go up a really steep hill and add a half mile extra hiking on an already too long day?

Well, I had missed the view from Standing Indian, and it was my first bald, and why am I out here anyway? To enjoy and experience it all! I had a great solo lunch up there and took pictures, of course. I still got to the shelter before dark, too, though I cut it close.

I finished up today with Bambi, who hikes at a very similar pace, though I was ahead long enough today that I didn't know if he had decided to camp instead of come on to the shelter. I took pictures on top of Wayah Bald, too, which has a great stone tower and great views.

I can't wait until I get home and can edit the raw files and put together the bracketed photos and see how they all turn out. Any photos I share while hiking are taken by and shared from my phone.

Note to self: it really hurts to stab yourself in the foot with your own trekking poles. Once in each foot actually hurts even worse. I'm pretty sure that will leave a mark, a bruise not a puncture, since the shoes saved my poor feet. I soaked my feet in a spring this afternoon, because they hurt. That really helped, but that was before the attempted stabbings.

Note to self #2: if you accept a beer as trail magic, cold from a creek, you now get to carry the empty can as trash for days, and pee a lot, too. It was awesome! Thank you, whoever left it there, and if I stole it, I really thought you meant it for me and I truly enjoyed it.

The bite (?) that got scratched and covered in dirt has gotten kind of scary looking. This morning at the hotel I put triple antibiotic ointment on it and covered it with a large, waterproof bandage for the hike today. I needed to keep it clean and protected from more damage. But the heel of my right foot scraped it multiple times when I stumbled, and the bandage irritated it and kept it soggy, so it looks truly freaky now. I may need medical attention if it doesn't improve quite a bit tomorrow.

The guys freaked out when they saw it and Blue joked that millions of baby spiders would come bursting out when I cleaned it, which sent Wendigo running to his tent in horror. I'll be sure to tell him spiders came out, if I see him again. He is aiming for 15-17 miles tomorrow and may be gone before I even get up. I plan to sleep in if I am able. I don't usually sleep well out here. Too hot lately. But I love my cotton sleeping shorts! I am wearing them now and they make me happy.

Matt got his first aid kit with liquid bandage spray and I cleaned the edges of the sore/wound/bite gently then sprayed it. It had also spread to the place I kept scraping with my foot. Maybe it's poison ivy or a poisonous spider bite.

My dilema is that maybe I should get it checked out quickly, but if I hike I have to cover it, and if it keeps raining like it is now, it will get soggy again. I might take a zero here at the shelter, or only go 5 miles to the next shelter. I also plan now to take a full zero day at the NOC hostel, whenever I drag myself in there. I have to get this sorted out before I go into the Smokies. I need a good rest first, too. No more trying to keep up with faster hikers. Bye guys! I'll read your register entries.

At least it's not a giant abscess like Slaughterhouse got, or a dying pinky toe from too tight boots like Katydid. Or massive blisters and possible hairline foot fractures like Indian Brave, or all the knee injuries that have ended other hikes.

I met Candy Cane and Blue tonight, and a few of us sat talking around the fire until midnight, with a fat toad who decided to sit next to my feet and be part of our circle. It watched the fire just like the rest of us did. Hiker (and toad) TV. It hung out with us for hours. Finally, raindrops sent me hurrying to my tent, where I am now writing this blog/journal post.

I have no idea what I'll do tomorrow.