Location: Francis Marion Hotel
Last night was the most sleepless night I’ve had on the trail. I may actually have slept less on other night, like the night in Pennsylvania that the rain overcame my tent and I woke to rushing water in the pitch black, but last night certainly was an uncomfortable sleep. The wind blew into the open shelter all night. As temperatures fell into the thirties, the cold wind swirled in the shelter. The wind seemed able to find every opening in my sleeping bag and constantly exchanged the warm air inside my bag with freezing cold air. I woke on the half hour every hour to try to plug the gaps in my sleeping bag. I could not keep the wind out.
As I fought with the wind, tossing and turning and tucking, a mouse began giving me trouble. I woke once as he ran across my chest on my sleeping bag. I could hear and feel the patter of his feet. Twice the mouse became tangled in my hair as I slept. Both times that the mouse got into my hair I was asleep. I woke both times in frantic jerking motions to shake the rodent free. I could smell that a mouse had been in my hair when I rubbed my fingers through it this morning. The smell and thought of a mouse in my hair made me sick.
I met mom at Dickey Gap this evening. I arrived before she did, and for the half hour before she arrived I feared that she might be waiting for me in a different spot. She eventually showed, and I was delighted to climb into the Tahoe. We found an exceptionally nice hotel in Marion, VA, called the Francis Marion. After I showered and changed into the khakis and collared shirt that mom had brought me, we went to a Japanese restaurant down the street for sushi. The food was great, but the restaurant was quite strange. Sponge Bon Square Pants played on the only television. Neon palm trees and aquariums lined the walls, and almost everyone eating in the restaurant was morbidly obese. Mom and I ate our dinners and returned to the hotel so I could rest in luxury.