Location: Unnamed Shelter
Finally I woke up early with Druid and Rising Sun, who got his name because he wakes with the sun. I ate bacon for breakfast and hit the trail running in the damp morning. Unfortunately I was running down the wrong trail and soon I found myself at a campsite and a dead end. Deflated, I backtracked and found the AT south which led to town (Atkins) only 14 short miles away.
The trail was fairly uninteresting today. My mind was set on Dairy Queen and a shower. I passed through several cow pastures and of course over a couple of mountains. The sun finally appeared again today. It has been clocked by rain and clouds for days.
As I set out from the shelter this morning, I planned to hike 10 miles to the next shelter before taking a break. I planned that it would take about three and a half hours. Up on the ridge, the little but steep ups-and-downs wore me out. I kept thinking that the shelter must be just on the other side of the next hill, but hill after hill took their toll on my emotions. I was nearly at my wits end when I rounded a corner in a rhododendron patch and found the shelter. I arrived nearly an hour later than I had planned, and I became dismayed that my pace may have been as slow as my pace in Maine. I was pleased to find that I had walked over twelve miles, not ten. I only had two miles to Atkins instead of the four that I thought I would by my miscalculation of mileage this morning.
When I got to Atkins, Druid had already checked in at the Relax Inn. His room was a real rat hole, with a sticky substance on the table, holes in the wall, and cigarette burns on the bed comforter and the stained carpet. I showered in a dirty shower and didn’t feel clean afterwards. Still, the shower was better than no shower at all. I dried my clothes in the dryer. The last few days of rain had soaked everything. I decided not to wash my clothes. I figure I will do that when mom picks me up tomorrow. After a shower, the laundry, and a snack from the gas station because the Dairy Queen had shut down, I returned to the trail in a sunny but windy afternoon, headed for a shelter five miles out of town. I would have stayed at the hotel with Druid be I’m meeting mom tomorrow evening and I still have 21 miles to our rendezvous.
Rising Sun joined me at the shelter tonight. He strolled up right at dark as I was cooking dinner. He will be completing his hike in Damascus, VA, so I won’t be spending much time with him. In fact, I’ll hike further than he will tomorrow, so after tomorrow morning, I probably won’t see him again.