Saw the Virginia Creepers before we left “town” – they were resupplying out of a car parked at the Relax Inn. Thanked them for my surprise and felt inadequate; I don’t think I properly conveyed how amazing their gift was.
OWL got a ride to the post office with one of their group, and I started hiking about 11, knowing OWL would catch up to me in no time. A really pretty walk today through fields and cow pastures and forest. Got to Crawfish Trail Campsite and saw Smiles there. He was trying to decide whether to stay the night, or push on to the shelter. A decision we all have to make every single day. There was a cool little rhododendron “house” for a small rock cairn on the firepit. Clevergirl & crew were there last night, looks like something Otto would make. It was really impressive – put together like a log house with joints and cuts in the wood.
I left Smiles there, and started the climb up to the shelter. Lots of fence stiles in this area; I have finally gotten the hang of climbing up, turning around on top of the stile, and climbing down. One area had lots of cows hanging out by the river, but they were nice cows and let me pass without any problems.
Strained my knee a bit going up steps after the Holston River Bridge, so it was extremely slow going from there on out. Went about a mile to a campsite – tried to text OWL to let her know I was spending the night there but didn’t have any service, so I trudged on…slowly. My knee panged with every step, and I was going under 1mph. Finally got to the shelter about 7:30pm – the latest I’ve ever gotten to the shelter but still an hour before dark. More than enought time to get water, set up the tent, cook dinner (my favorite: loaded baked potatoes), and then go to bed. All The Way, GrandBob, Hammer, OWL, Loco Pony & Hummingbird are here, along with two section hikers. I am worried about my knee – it is a little swollen – it doesn’t feel collapsed or weak so we’ll see how it feels tomorrow.