Day 38

I woke up with the dim blue light of the basement window again. I feel exhausted. Knee pain kept waking me up in the night. I don’t care to look at the clock. I don’t care to keep up a schedule today. I hear Mike walk downstairs to check on us. It must be 8. I slowly stretch out my legs and walk to the bathroom. My foot pain is intense. I don’t want to hike today but just 10 miles might be ok. They other hiker is feeling the same. I’m so tired but I don’t want to stay here to rest. We sluggishly packed up our things and pay Mike. We’re on the road by 10 and to the trail head by 10:30. The sun is out and beating down. Twill be in the 90s today. I cinched up my pack and bid farewell to the other hiker who was laying on the ground looking at her phone. I don’t think she’s going to hike today.

I swat my way through the spur trail I did yesterday to the AT and turn left. 10 miles to my destination today seemed short. My pack however was loaded down with too much food which made for a very slow day. A hiker named Broadway passed me soon after I started. We chatted at the next water source. He asked me how old I was. I’ve had this question at least 5 or more times already. Folks think I’m anywhere between 18 and 27. They gawk when I say 32. Broadway is 24. His friend Frog came along soon after and started smoking. I moved along as I’m not too fond of cigarette smoke.

The day dragged on through open fields and kudzu bushes. There was a nice piece of forest however that was pretty magical. Very tall and what seemed like old trees. I crossed the 4 lane HWY 50. 4.5 more miles to the shelter. It was 1:30 and my shirt was soaked with sweat. I put my head down and climbed a 500 foot hill and down again. 4 hours later I arrived at Rod Hollow shelter. To my surprise Skunk and Chug were there. We exchanged friendly hellos and how are your feets.

There was an older man in the shelter with a little white dog. He didn’t acknowledge me when I waved at him which bothered me. Chug and Skunk were sitting under the picnic pavilion with two other hikers. They were eating dinner before hiking on 6 more miles to the next shelter. I set up my tent in a space too small but I made it work.

I joined them as I cooked my dinner. 5 more hikers showed up and we took shifts under the pavilion eating while a thunderstorm passed. The temperature was much more pleasant after the rain and I didn’t feel so grumpy after I had eaten. Still sad though due to the discomfort of the heat and lack of consistent hiking companions. I was in my tent by 9:30 and listening to Harry Potter. Tomorrow I would hike the roller coaster…

Miles: 984.1 – 995.1 (11)

Total: 389.7