Mohican Outdoor Center [mile 1904.2; SOBO 885.8]
Miles to go: 281.7
First of all… I love the MOC! Honestly, having seen the huts in the Whites, this is a MUCH better deal. Look! Electricity! A hot shower! Kitchens and microwaves and plumbing!
Ahem. Yes, I’m still in the woods. But as I said to someone, if at the end of the day there happens to be a cheap motel or a hostel or a handy outdoor center with bunkrooms right there, I’m going to be hard pressed not to sleep in it. I hope to be inside tomorrow night, too. At a different location. At a location in Pennsylvania. Although that’s probably it for a while—maybe until the end.
My stomach’s feeling better today, which is excellent. Every time I get a little stomach distress (which is fairly frequently, particularly when I’m doing my resupply in 7-11s), I immediately think I’ve finally gotten Giardia. And who knows? Maybe I’m harboring some bugs. But they stayed put today, more or less.
The other piece of good news was that I handled the cold much better thanks to a Jedi mind trick and some actual gear tweaking. (The tweaking never ends.) For the gear, I decided that if I wore everything to bed, then in the morning when I took some off, I’d freeze. Logical, right? So I actually wore fewer clothes to bed. I didn’t wear my fleece, and I didn’t wear my pants over my Thermasilks. Then this morning I took off my puffy pants and pulled on my hiking pants and my rain pants over the Thermasilks. I took off my puffy jacket and put on my fleece and my rain jacket. My hands still got icy, but overall it was a much better morning. And I was peeling layers off by 9:00. So that tells me that basically my pants aren’t warm enough. But all I need is something dry to sleep in—for instance, lightweight flannel PJ bottoms for under the puffies. Something nontechnical that I can get hopefully anyplace.
The Jedi mind trick was this: I didn’t take my earplugs out.
My earplugs aren’t hardcore. They keep me from having to listen to a hundred squirrels rustle throuh the leaves, but I’ll hear something big like a deer or a bear. They keep out the little noises. Well, in the morning it’s usually a shock to the system when I pull them out; it lets reality crash right back in on me. Including the wind.
So this morning I was lying there and I thought Eff it. I don’t want to hear the wind this morning. So I left them in, and don’t you know, I wasn’t as cold? It was just as brisk and windy all day, but I left those suckers in right up to the time I was peeling off the layers of clothes. (Yes, I could still hear the gunfire in the distance.)
So it was a pretty mundane day of walking. Some areas were densely rocky (preview of things to come), but for the most part it was hiker superhighway today. Sunny, windy, cool. I passed probably twenty dayhikers and weekenders, and they were all snugged up in their fleeces and hats and gloves.
There were some great views today, pretty autumn hills in cornucopia colors, seen from above. For most of the day the trail traveled along ridges. This afternoon, particularly, it clung to the edge of a mountain and marched across some cliff faces that must seem like a taste of what’s coming if you’re NOBO. Hint: It is!
At some point today I hit 1900 miles. Wow. That’s a lot of miles, innit? It really feels like a lot of miles today.
I’d decided at the day’s start to stop at the MOC tonight after fourteen miles. My shoes are here! My very last pair of shoes (at least I hope so).
I’m ensconced in my bunkroom. I’m all alone here for now, although a party of four is supposed to be arriving later; they’re in the next room. I have my earplugs. 🙂
Shortly I’ll be heading up to the lodge for dinner. I decided to get breakfast tomorrow, too, although it’s not until 8:00, which kills me. But if I hit the trail at 9:00, I should be OK. I only have to go eleven miles tomorrow to the Delaware Water Gap (although I have to resupply when I get there; I’m planning to stay the night somewhere).
You know what’s going to be creepy? Being on the trail on Halloween!