Near Spivy Gap [mile ~330]
I was hoping to do a 15 today! Didn’t quite make it. There were some fierce uphills including a mile-long rock scramble that utterly spent me. But I did keep hiking until 5:30 (7 AM start), which is progress. And I managed 13 or so—better than yesterday and probably outstanding, given the week’s antics.
Woke up to frozen shoes! Well… frozen stiff rather than frozen solid. It must have gone down to 30 or so overnight. Ice in my water bottles, ice crystals on the tent—just the thing to make you want to jump out of the sleeping bag and put on your wet socks! 🙂
Speaking of socks, let me digress for just a moment. I think something crawled into my feet and died! Into my actual feet! And died! The smell’s so bad, I’m surprised the tent hasn’t melted! Actually, it’s only the socks next to the shoes. I wear two pairs of socks. I has baggies between them for the last two days because of the rain. You slop around in mud-filled trenches and compost-ripe fields and festering swamps and other hikers’ campsites, your shoes are bound to take a beating. Not to mention your nasal passages.
Anyhoo. All that pretty spring vegetation was as flaccid as yesterday’s lettuce. The cold weather killed spring! It also killed my phone battery, which had sucked down to zero overnight. So much for the 8% emergency fund.
Later on, though, I remembered what DB Cooper said about warming up the batteries, so I stuck the phone in my bra for a while, close to my heart. And look! Six percent! So I managed to take some bra-phone photos for you. (Trust me. If you’ve spent any time at all in the back country, you know how desperately unappealing that is.)
Not much excitement on the hiking front. The cold was the worst—a blustery biting wind that never really abated. But the skies were cloudless blue. And another few mountainsful of bare trees and dead leaves are done!
Stopped for lunch at Bald Mountain Shelter and met Miami, taking a zero, and Rainbow Bright. Rainbow Bright was getting sick. She took off to the privy for a while, then vanished into her tent. Sounds like the plague to me. But hey, it wasn’t me that infected her! She was sick when I got there! I bope she feels better soon.
A note on the plague: I was meticulous. I didn’t touch other hikers. I used antiseptic wipes and disinfectant. I didn’t stay in the shelters. But I got it somehow! It’s hard to stay clean out here, despite best efforts. Hell, it’s hard to stay only dirty. Postman said I probably got it in Hot Springs, and that seems reasonable. I’m less careful in towns because I’m showered and the towns feel safe. But I’m still hanging with hikers, going where hikers go. I doubt the guy running the hiker ministry is hosing his doorknobs with bleach. I’ll never know for sure where I got it, but I’ll be a little more vigilant in towns, I think.
Hikerboy passed me today! Fast hiker. Oh, who am I kidding? Hikerboy’s grandmother would make me eat her dust.
So now I have a dilemma. Or… actually, I don’t! I’ll hike tomorrow and camp as close to Erwin as I can, then walk in and look for lodging. I have a LOT of internet and phone issues to resolve.