Location: Unknown Shelter
I left the shelter today expecting to move just 16 miles south on the AT. I started hiking late this morning, around 9:30. I allowed plenty of time to hike the 16 miles. It was supposed to rain all morning, but the rain never came. The sun shined all day and I made 12 miles by 1:30 in the warm afternoon.
I hiked much of the morning with Jimmy Legs. I met her first in the 100 mile wilderness the day that lightning nearly hit me on top of Barren Mountain. She met me as I was in a frantic spree of emotions after the strike and she imitated my behavior when she told the story around the fire a couple nights ago.
At lunch, Druid and I decided that we would push on to the 23 mile shelter, leaving a 19 and an 18 mile day into town. I wasn’t mentally prepared for a 20+ mile day, so I had to psyche myself up at lunch. This task before me demands mental strength and stamina as much as physical expenditure. Adding another three hours of hiking to the end of a day takes more of a toll on the mind than the body.
After a couple extra mountains and a hilly cow pasture walk we all arrived at the 23 mile shelter. A couple miles before arriving, we ran across a bin of trail magic at a highway crossing in the cow pastures and farmland. Cold Feet left a Rubbermaid bin of M&M’s, Capri suns, Little Debbie’s, and other goodies to go along with the Halloween season. The treats hit the spot, especially the drinks. I had run out of water and chose not to risk purifying the creek water running through the cow fields. For certain in contained manure and therefore most likely carried disease.
I arrived at the shelter with Dr. Rudder and Dorothy. The shelter was nestled in a damp grove of rhododendrons. The evergreen leaves blocked almost all remaining light of the evening sun, but I managed to make to shelter without using my headlamp. I ate a Mountain House meal and went to be thankful I had decided at lunch to hike the 23 miles today instead of in a couple days when I’d be going into Pearisburg, VA.