We are currently 349 miles into the adventure!
It’s been an adventuresome week and a bit of a blur.
Left Hot Springs for a 10 miler that was mostly uphill, as it tends to be when you leave town. Nothing remarkable. At Bald Mountain Shelter, I made a process error that ended up with my phone being soaked in water. It subsequently died. Big bummer. Photos, audio books, GPS logger info for the blog map, blogging app, etc all on it, and with no external SD card, likely gone for good. Luckily, between here and Flickr, I have uploaded most of the good ones. I will keep the old phone for a future salvage attempt.
That meant that the next day, Arizona and I ended up on the road after a quick 9 miles. His phone was working so he called down the road for the shuttle from Devil’s Gap to the Laurel Trading Post and Hostel. Weird how doing 9 miles (and being done at noon) now makes me feel lazy. But it was threatening rain and I needed to deal with the phone situation.
I called Robin at Newport Bio and she and Meaghen stepped up for me! They got me a shiny new phone (and some peanut M&Ms!!), got my number assigned to it and had it shipped here to the hostel in Erwin. Very nice job!
So that’s why there are no photos for this post.
Spent a lazy afternoon with Arizona and Smoky Bear, playing rummy and doing laps with the TV remote. We opted for the off-menu sandwich special which is: Fried Egg, Sausage patties, cheese, hash brown on a grilled bun…with mayo. Ugh. I am sure it reminds Ginger of the Clement St. bagels with hash browns…mmmm.
At this point it was 33 miles to Erwin.
Knocked out a 16 mile day from Devil’s Gap. It was a long but nice day, lots of ups, and I walked basically from 9:15 to about 6pm. I did stop at a shelter for lunch, which is rare. Right after I sat down, a cardiologist from Vanderbilt sat down with some trail magic: A cooler of icy sodas, strawberries, chocolate and other snacks. Super nice. I had a couple photos but alas.
We knew the rain was coming. The storm started at night, so I got to pack a wet and heavy tent. To be clear, the tent itself was dry but the rainfly was soaked.
It basically rained all day. The next shelter was 11 miles out and town (and my new phone) was 17. It was a wet slog all day. Rain gear doesn’t seem to do much, and eventually you are so sweaty from the inside, it’s a moot point. I ran into 61 at the shelter and since it was only 2pm, it was too early to quit and since I was Wettus Rattus already, we agreed to pizza at the hostel and knocked out the remaining miles, getting to the hostel at 5pm. 17 is my longest day to date.
Besides the phone, I was hoping for a shoe store to get something a bit more robust for my feet. Alas, it’s not that kind of town. Looks like I will have to tough it out until Damascus, VA, about a week+ away. No problem. Overall, my feet are doing quite well. My profile is noticeably slimming, despite a ways to go and a diet as above. There’s a salad out here somewhere with my name on it.
Usually I try to write a bit each night because it all very quickly blurs into one. I was thinking yesterday in the rain that I didn’t really think of anything at all all day since each slippery step demanded my attention. I did fall down for the first time in weeks when one of my poles wouldn’t come out of the ground in proper time.
But the days are getting warmer, the earth growing greener. I generally don’t need to wear gloves and a hat when I go to bed now, which is nice. A few more weeks before we can send the winter stuff home for good.
Got a message from Tortoise and Garmin (last seen at the NOC) and learned they were up ahead. I just about caught up to them here in Erwin but the phone/shoe thing has me a day or two behind. I will catch up soon I hope!
Feet are good. Getting stronger and faster. Having a good time. All is well for now. Thanks for reading!