Day 16

Up with sun once again. I released the air from my sleeping mat and put on my hiker uniform now 2 days unwashed. I packed up my things and board the shuttle. I was the trail by 7:30 and struggling. My energy was low and my legs and feet still hurt. I could have taken a zero but didn’t want to spend any more money at the hostel and I had just taken 3 “zeros” for Trail Days. I felt like I needed to get a move on. It was going to be hot today. In the 80s for sure. I started at a snails pace. The trail turned out to be a mix of rolling dirt path and large sharp rocks with a hefty climb up and over a mountain with no view. I was shooting for the shelter 12 miles ahead. On the shuttle this morning I met a hiker named Radagast. He was friendly and we talked briefly as we exited the van. He was doing the 20 miles slack pack I did yesterday. He’d probably catch up to me in the next day or two. A trail family (also called a “tramily”) quickly passed me in the morning. I had met some of the them at Woods Hole and at Angel’s Rest. 3 miles in to the day’s hike I needed a break and stopped at shelter to sit down for a snack. A hiker named Yogi was there and soon Sage joined us. Yogi is from New Zealand and told me he was having a “quarter life crisis.” Sage was a tech guy living in Burlington, VT. I played leap frog with several familiar hikers.

I stopped for lunch and pulled out a freeze dried ice cream sandwich my Dad bought for me. Not too bad. Slowly but surely my appetite is growing. I zoned out for most of the day, not having much fun due to the heat and foot pain. I arrived at the shelter around 4 and was glad to find it busy with about 5 hikers already. We ended up with 5 more to come in over the evening.

I had chili Mac for dinner with some new hikers at the picnic table in front of the shelter. A young guy named Goose let me hang my food bag with his to save me the chore of throwing a string over a tree branch. We could hear the sound of the creek 100 yards away as the sun went down. This shelter was really out there. No service and 10 or more miles from a road in either direction. I focused on happy thoughts as I waited to fall asleep.

Miles: 656.6 – 669 (12.4)

Total: 174.5