Somewhere near Swift Run Gap [mile 902]
“And I will walk 900 miles and I will walk 900 more just to be the man who walked 900 miles…. ya-dah-da, ya-dah-da….” Et cetera! OK, so it’s the 500-mile song recycled. What can you do?
Last night the thunder was fierce! I couldn’t even count the intervals between the lightning and the thunder because the thunder was at times almost constant—just a steady deep rumbling that seemed to exist on its own, unconnected to the lightning. And it was dark where I camped. I needed a headlamp even before the sun went down, and again this morning. All in all, kind of a creepy night. The rain came, but lightly, and I packed up dry.
I got a bit of a late start: 7:45. I blame the darkness. The morning was cloudy again, with occasional drizzle. And there’s not much to report, hiking-wise. I saw a deer and a toad.
The deer situation was interesting. I tend to hike looking firmly down, so I often miss things. I was walking through a dark, green corridor when all of a sudden I looked up and to my left. There was a deer standing ten feet away, perfectly still and watching me. Why did I look up at that particular instant of all the instants? Why did I look left insfead of right? It must be some sense we have, that feeling of being watched. Curious. In any event, when I went for the phone, the deer bolted, so no picture.
The toad was easier. It was in the middle of the trail and didn’t want to get squished.
At noon I made it to Hightop Hut and stopped for lunch. Don’t you know, just like yesterday, as soon as I was under cover the sky opened. Torrents of rain, sheets of rain came down for a solid hour. Hikers Smurf and Cub from yesterday were there, and we had a nice chat.
Oh, and another hiker showed up while we were sitting there (also a Boy Scout troop). This was an older guy who’s hiking for breast cancer awareness, and he was dressed in pink from hat to socks. Some hikers hike for a cause; it’s the object of some controversy. I’m not doing it, so I don’t have an opinion, but I was fascinated by this guy’s clothes. He was wearing a women’s shirt, I’m pretty sure. No darts, but after buying women’s clothes for several decades, you get to the point where you can tell. Then I thought, I bet they don’t make burly hiker clothes for men in hot pink. I bet that guy is in drag from head to foot! Then I had to laugh, because so am I. Except for the sports bra, I’m wearing men’s clothes, including the shoes. So I guess Pink Guy and I cancel each other out.
Smurf and Cub tried to talk me into staying at the shelter, but I couldn’t; the shelter was at mile 899. I told them I had to get just one more mile. And the rain had let up anyway.
Ha! As soon as I hit the trail, it started coming down cats and dogs. Or deer and bears, maybe. And it kept on raining. I hiked another couple of hours then found a spot and pitched the tent in the downpour. (I’m not very good at that, but I did pretty well this time.) I’ve been trying to hike past dinnertime lately, but finding a spot around here is uncertain, and in the pouring rain I decided to go for the one that presented itself. It doesn’t help the mileage cause any, but whatever! I’m off the clock! 😉
Right now I’m eating candy bars for dinner again. See, this is why I can’t be trusted with food treats. I think I must have left Waynesboro with enough food to get to Harper’s Ferry. Probably 15 pounds. If I’d realized how easy it was to eat and resupply in Shenandoah I might have planned differently. But it is what it is! I’m definitely not going to starve on this leg.
Day after tomorrow, I probably get to have a cheeseburger at Big Meadow wayside! Yeah! Maybe I’ll get one of those awesome blackberry shakes.