Just as the weatherman predicted it rained pretty much all day today except for maybe an hour in the morning. While rain isn’t good for the spirits it is good for the miles and I was able to get to the shelter earlier than I expected. Due in part to not wanting to stop while it is raining but also due to relatively easy terrain.
I woke up 15 minutes later than normal because it was still raining and I didn’t want to have to carry both an umbrella and a headlamp while heading out from the shelter. The other hiker woke up to chit-chat a little bit and ate breakfast. He was planning on hanging out a little while but I was ready to head out promptly at 7:20.
It was raining pretty steadily but in the woods the leaves and the trees kind of mellow out the rain. It kept raining pretty steadily till about 10:30 and then it let up. I was trying to make a covered picnic pavilion by around noon so that I could have lunch in a relatively dry place. With the rain stopped maybe I could also dry my shoes and socks out.
I got to the pavilion just a little bit after 12:00 and it started to rain again. It was a light misty rain but it was pretty windy so it was getting me wet even under the pavilion. I put my rain jacket on and just went ahead and ate lunch. With the rain it was a quick lunch but it was a good lunch of a gas station Italian sub from Atkins a day and a half ago.
I was almost out of water and the next stretch is pretty dry, but it looks like the parking lot at the other end of the road walk on the other side of the interstate said there was a brook there that had water. Halfway through the road walk as I was heading downhill I saw a rock face with water streaming off the side of it. Since the terrain was going downhill and I knew the parking lot was at the bottom of the hill I thought that water coming off the side of a mountain would probably better than water that was in a brook that probably contained a lot of runoff from the road. So I literally just held my bottle to the side of the rock and collected 2 liters of water. When I got to the brook at the parking lot my suspicions were correct and the runoff from the road did lead into that stream. I had chosen wisely.
While on the road walk and crossing the interstate the light rain got a little bit heavier but more importantly the wind got a lot stronger. The rain was coming at me sideways to the point where it was better to hold the umbrella straight in front of me and just peek over the top every once in awhile to make sure a car wasn’t coming. It felt weird basically hiking without being able to see more than a foot in front of you. But at least I was staying dry.
The trail climbed up away from the parking lot as the trail usually does from a road. It didn’t climb very high until it got to the top of the ridge. Most of the day today was hiking the top of ridges that we’re not very rocky and not very hilly so the hiking was easier than it’s been in a long time. I was expecting to get to the shelter about 6:45 but I got there just shortly after 6:00. There was another hostel just one mile ahead on trail and almost a mile of a road walk down the hill but there was no one at the shelter and it looked dry and clean so this is where I sleep.
The shelters in this area are made from regular boards and not logs so there’s very few hiding places for mice. They’re big enough to sleep six or eight but it looks like I’ll have this one all to myself tonight.
The first thing I did when I got to the shelter was take my shoes and socks off. My socks were so wet that I could wring water out of them. And they smell atrociously bad too. There’s a lot of skin coming off my feet but right now it’s only the areas that are pretty calloused and dead already. I just hope that once it dries again the skin that’s underneath is tough enough to take the beating that’s certainly coming.
The second thing I did after getting to the shelter was to cook dinner. The dehydrated meals are better when you let them sit a while so it’s convenient to go ahead and cook early and then get busy setting up your sleep area. By the time you’ve got everything set for dinner it has been sitting at least 20 minutes and should be fully hydrated and cool enough to start eating.
I also have great cell signal here so the earlier arrival allows me to get some electronic chores done. I’m planning on making another hostel tomorrow, the famous Woods Hole Hostel. This one has been around for a long time but I’ve never been there. You can also have breakfast and dinner there and since I’m running a little low on food I probably will do that as long as I can get there early enough.
Another day and a half and I should be in Pearisburg which is my last resupply by post office. The last eight or nine days of the trip will be resupply by grocery store or gas station so that means more mashed potatoes and ramen noodles. But let’s not think about that. Let’s think about dinner at the Woods Hole Hostel. Pleasant dreams.