Sam’s Gap [mile 317.4]
Here’s a first! I’m writing this Old School, in a little tiny notebook. The phone’s down to about 8% charge, and I need to save that for emergencies. I’m going to order a battery in Erwin and have it shipped in my Damascus box.
So, up and down, eh? I slept all afternoon and woke up feeling normal. Thank gods. I’ve never experienced anything that meteorically awful. If I were home I would have spent today in bed recovering, drinking ginger ale and eating crackers. Alas, I had no crackers. In fact… funny thing. At home I don’t get sick, usually—one of the benefits of working alone. It’s so far off my radar that I never thought to provision with something easy on the stomach. The thought of salmon jerky and whole-seed protein bars makes me nauseous. I did have a couple of pork ramen in the food bag, which was about as close as I could come to chicken noodle soup. I promised myself one of those as a reward if I could get up and moving.
I packed up under extreme wind. That happens a lot out here. Sometimes it grabs my pack and tosses me off balance.
The trail is getting greener from the ground up. Parts of the forest are a lush carpet bursting with tiny flowers—yellow, purple, pink, red, white. Overhead some of the branches are starting to get that radioactive green that comes with the earliest new leaves.
More dead people. These were in a cage, which had me slightly nervous.
Around midmorning a cold drizzle started; it turned torrential by noon and stayed that way all day.
I figured I deserved a break, so I planned on staying at Hogback Ridge Shelter even though it was just 2 PM. Surprise! When I got there, it was already full. People zero in the shelters when the weather turns bad! Who knew? Squatters! I can’t blame them, since I was looking to squat myself.
But guess who was there? The famous Hikerboy from Whiteblaze! I’m a fan. That was cool. 🙂
That was at 315 miles. Having gotten nine miles on an empty stomach, in the rain, shocked me. It’s so random out here.
Not much to do but press on. At Sam’s Gap on a tree was a sign for Mother Marian’s Hostel. Yay! I called; they were full because of the rain! Boo! (Hostel squatters!)
But their shuttle driver showed up at Sam’s Gap to pick up their final lucky guest, and he kindly gave me a ride down to the convenience store two miles away. Trail magic! Guess what I bought? Crackers! I thought about ginger ale, but I didn’t want to carry the trash. Thank you, Bobby/ Aquaman/Wall Street! Bobby hiked from Hot Springs to Vermont three years ago. He ran out of money in Vermont. That’s when his buds changed his name to Wall Street.
So, a rabbit pulled eleven-something miles out of a hat. That’s excellent. And now in Sam’s Gap the rain has stopped, but inside my tent it’s starting to get cold. Time to hunker down. Night!