Day 5

Another restless night, this time with lots of wind that kept me up. At about 5 am I looked at my watch and tried to go back to sleep. 6 am alarm chimes and I snoozed it. It felt exhausted. By 6:20 I decided to go for it, rapidly packing my tent and hiking out without breakfast at 6:45. Maybe the snakes would still be asleep. It was another beautiful day.

I walked through a cow pasture and over a large creek. When you’re the first one on the trail in the morning, you get to walk through all the spider webs. I put my trekking pokes in an X in front of me and continued on. When I reached the top of a ridge I pulled out a snack bar and walked while I ate. I was back to my usual trucking speed.

At 9:30 I had done 5 miles. I was making great time but was loosing steam. I figured I wouldn’t make the 11:15 shuttle but I could make the 2:15. I keep hiking up and down a couple small mountains with no views and ended on a long incline through a rhododendron tunnel. A shelter comes into view and all of a sudden I’m at the Mt Rodgers Visitors Center. It was 11:14.

I approached the circle drive and a hiker calls out to me, are you looking for the shuttle? I just called for one. A shuttle appears in about 5 minutes. It costs 50 cents and the joker covers my fare since I only have a 20. The hiker’s name is Patches. She’s 25, from Nebraska, and read about the AT in a romance novel. I got a good vibe from her as we chatted.

We were dropped off at Walmart and we make a plan to share a hotel room that night. I buy a banana, Epsom salts, and some shoe insoles for plantar fasciitis. I hop back on the bus to make my way to the post office. I receive my package and take 3 days of food out. I repackage it and send it ahead to my next hostel I’ll be at in 3 days. I get back on the bus and head the Econolodge. Marion has a super transit system, by the way. They will come pick you up at your house.

At the hotel Patches was busy putting her food supply in her bear canister. 5000 calories a day for 5 days. Patches walked from Georgia with a 35 pound pack and she’s not much bigger than I am.

I make a version guacamole with an avocado, lime, and salt for lunch. We chat for a while and then zone out in our phones. Shock Top is outside our door and we go to talk. She calls me Research Assistant. I like it but it’s a bit long for a trail name. We make a trip to Sonic where I get a strawberry milkshake. I’m not too hungry for fast food. I want fruit and green vegetables.

I take a salt bath and wash out my clothes before I make a trip for dinner to the Bojanles next door. I finish writing a few blog posts and it’s time for sleep. Maybe the rain will start tomorrow? I’m planning on doing 7 miles to the next shelter and not push it.

Mile: 520.1 – 534.2 (10.1…before noon)

Total: 48.9