Day 88: On trend

Harrison Ground Spring [mile 768.9]

Another 10. I’ve hit some kind of a mental wall. Also, I have to watch the food. I might end up having to ration. I wonder where the next little town is, and what I’d need to do to get there?

Blood Orange showed up at the campsite last night! That was awesome. He’d gone home for a few days for his father’s wedding, and he said it totally recharged him. He sounded great, and he managed 17 miles yesterday.

Maybe that’s what I need. A week at home.

Hahahahaha! I guarantee, if you plopped me into a place with a shower any time I want it, all the cheesesteaks and Ben and Jerry’s I can eat, and Netflix, there’s no way I’d have the strength of will to come back out to the filth and pain and biting things that hide in your pants.

On the other hand, I need some kind of recharging. Maybe I’m not taking enough town days. Hrm. I have no idea. I’m just at some sort of 3-month burnout. And all my fun peeps are far ahead of me (or off the trail).

Anyhoooo…. So yeah! Blood Orange! (He passed me today, so I’ll probably never aee him again, lol.)

I got up and hit the trail early, and finished up old Floyd. It was ten degrees cooler today, and cloudy. I was trucking along. It had been the heat, I realized! It was just the heat! But then I checked my watch and it had taken me 3 hours to go 3 miles, so I was right there at my regular paint-drying pace. 😉

There was a lot of climbing today. First the trail climbed to Black Rock Overlook, which was a rocky outcropping with a view of the mountains. Very pretty. After that, we climbed again, this time to a place where an alien starship was moored. Just kidding! It was some sort of FAA tower.

Then the trail descended down through something called ‘the Guillotine.’ What the hell’s that, I wondered. Turns out it’s a giant boulder balanced on top of two other boulders. The trail goes right underneath it. I wonder how many hikers have stopped right there and crossed their fingers that the rock didn’t choose that particular second to come down? I know I did! But it stayed put, ready for the next beheading.

The day was getting increasingly cloudy and cold, and when I stopped for lunch at the next shelter, I got a text from Blackbird warning me that a cold front was blowing through. It started to rain while I sat there. I had my rain jacket on for a while, but I was just sweating in it, rather than staying dry. I decided at least the rain would wash the salt and stink out of my shirt, or reduce them a little, so I took the jacket off.

The trail climbed another mountain covered with thick weeds, and when I was near the summit, all hell broke loose—lightning followed almost immediately by thunder, then sudden torrential rain. I was soaked, and my pack was soaked despite the pack cover. And it was fine for half a mile or so, until I actually started to get cold. (And the rain wasn’t keeping the voracious flies and no-see-ums at bay, either. They were still taking their pound of flesh. You should see the egg-sized bite on my temple!)

So I trudged down the mountain to where the book said were a spring and campsites. They were occupied! Three tents on the edges of the clearing. They weren’t thru-hiker tents, either. Two were box-store, big, family-size jobs. The third, though, was a Hillenberg (did I spell that right?), a bit of a Cadillac of tents. If anybody was a thru-hiker or section hiker, it would have been that one. So I asked the inhabitant if she minded if I pitched nearby, and she said it was fine. I didn’t want to interrupt a family vacation.

I pitched the tent in that driving rain. I’ve gotten better at it, but everything still ends up soaked. The good news? It isn’t March anymore!

So I’m lying here in my puffy pants and jacket and booties, getting warm. My clothes are going to be cold and soaked tomorrow morning, which is a recipe for yuck. I ate all my breakfast bars to console myself. (There weren’t enough of them anyway. I fell for an evil marketing ploy whereby Nutrigrain cut the bars in half and said each serving was two bars. So I thought I was buying 20 bars, but I actually only had 10 servings. And three were left, but no more!)

It’s not raining at the moment, but I have a feeling it’s going to be off and on all night.

Where was that next town again?

By the way, the only hiker I saw today was Blood Orange. Where is everybody? Have they all passed me now?







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