Location: Unknown Shelter
I woke late this morning. I slept through my alarm. I did it at home, I do it out here. I ate breakfast in my sleeping bag as usual. I ate the second box of chocolate donuts. After packing my bag, I got out of my sleeping bag, exposing my bare legs to the cold. My stomach ached. I was nearly doubled over with cramps. I went to the privy to try to relieve the pain, but when I opened the door I saw a rat sitting on the toilet seat, gnawing on a roll of toilet paper that had been left in the outhouse. I took to the woods, but that didn’t help.
I decided I would just start hiking although my stomach hurt. I was starting to get cold and needed to move around the warm. I took several breaks climbing the first hill. I kept thinking that I had to keep moving because I had to make 23 miles today or I would run out of food before Daleville. At the top of the hill, I rested for a half hour to let the clump of donuts in my stomach digest. I had to put on all of my clothes to stay warm while I sat at the top of the mountain. Eventually the pain subsided and I started moving again. The donuts hurt my stomach, but once I started moving without pain, I was really moving. The donuts had supplied a ton of energy, I suppose because of the sugar.
Clouds moved over the mountains today. I haven’t seen a single cloud for days because of a dominant high pressure system in the area. I didn’t realize until today that I’m walking the Blue Ridge Mountains. I think maybe I knew, but it never dawned on me so that I recognized it consciously. The forest in the mountains is changing colors in full. Every level of the canopy is showing brilliant colors. It makes the walk in the woods entertaining. Nature again displays quite a show.
Despite my late start and stomach cramps, I made the shelter by dark. It is one of the largest shelters that I’ve seen, sleeping 20. There was a group of five at the shelter and they offered me a hot dog when I first arrived and . . . I ate it! I actually ate a hotdog, for the first time in my life I ate a hotdog from end to end. It looked so good, fat, red, and plump. It was already in the bun. I loaded it with mustard and ketchup and stuffed my face. I ate their chips and cookies too. They were amazed by my stories of thru-hiking and that people thru-hiked at all.
Tomorrow I plan to hike 21 miles to within 5 miles of Daleville. The weatherman says it is supposed to rain 1-2 inches through tonight and tomorrow. If it does, that will make tomorrow a very long marathon day. I still don’t know if I’ll stay in Daleville. I’m thinking about just going in and getting out in the same day. I don’t particularly want to stay overnight, but if it is raining, I’ll be glad to get a warm bed and a hot shower.
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