Slept badly, again. Either this bag is NOT a 45 degree bag, or it is getting really cold at night. Last night I put on my puffy jacket, my rain pants, and used the hot water bottle trick. Even with my silk liner I was still cold. But I wasn’t as cold as the night before…there is hope.
Not sure if it is the lack of sleep but today was hard. Left camp about 8:30 – immediately had a creek crossing. Saw a note that said “successful crossing of a swollen creek: advance two spaces” – pretty funny. On the second creek crossing I totally slipped on a rock and fell face-first into the creek. Both feet were submerged, my face was just inches from the rushing water, my waist was bent over a pointed rock…NOT how I wanted to start my hike! Laid there for just a second to catch my breath and then pushed myself upright onto a big rock before stepping onto the bank. My left side is pretty banged up; my arm hurts when I use my trekking pole and my ribs hurt, but nothing is broken. And, as a special bonus, the pocket my phone was in didn’t even get wet! (Lots of people have otterboxes for their phone; I just have a regular case and put it in a ziploc bag when it’s raining. This is a fine plan except when you fall into a creek!)
There was one big climb early on, with lots of rocks. Met Tribe, a SOBO hiker, who was very encouraging…”just keep trudging, there’s trail magic ahead!”. Found a rubbermaid container with lots of empties and four COLD sodas. (One good thing about it being so cold the night before: the sodas were cold!). Took my pack off and sat down for a minute while I had a delicious orange soda. I’m feeling very defeated today – probably because of the creek crossing – or maybe I’m just really missing AWE again.
When I got to the top of the climb, I almost passed by the Kelly Knob view, but then thought…I have walked up this mountain, I’m going to see the view even if I have to walk a bit further off the trail! It was really gorgeous – I could see for miles – and I also had cell service! Called AWE and talked to her for the first time since Pearisburg.
Got to the designated lunch spot just as OWL was getting ready to leave. “You need to learn how to walk faster!”, she said. Yeah…thanks.
While eating my lunch I made a list of everyone I can think of who is rooting for me. Then I listened to Toots & the Maytals while walking…sang loudly…felt better. Kept trudging. Saw a huge 300 year old tree (the Keffer Oak) – pretty neat – but also sad that there aren’t very many “old” trees along the AT. Another steep climb…then walking on the ridge…then half a mile of steep switchbacks down to the shelter. This shelter is probably the nicest one I’ve seen so far – I’m guessing it gets very little use because it is so far off the trail. But I am glad to be here for the night. I am tenting again – mostly for warmth but I am also enjoying having my own personal space in the tent…I sleep better in the tent for sure.
Here with owl, team onyx, stumbles, her bf, and a couple others tenting.
The water source for this shelter is by some old abandoned buildings – can’t find any information about them but one appears to be a cabin and all that remains of the other is two chimneys.