I fell asleep with a very bright moon and woke up to a rainless but soaked environment. Everything was wet even inside my tent. The weather forecast stated rain by 2 P.M with winds of up to 25 or 30 mph. In front of me were a couple of healthy climbs.
It didn’t take long to get above the fog but it also revealed the incoming weather. Have you ever had days that your motor wasn’t running on all cylinders? It may have been the 17 miles the day before but I was close to worthless. At some point I would stop every 0.2 tenths of a mile just to catch my breath. I finally decided that the problem was my pants so I took them off. After a few moments of standing in the middle of the AT in my Hanes Unders I managed to find my hiking shorts in the bottom of the bag next to the litter. For a moment I flew up the mountain…. but just a moment. It was an 1,100 foot climb followed by a 900 foot decent soon followed by another 1,000 climb. I was wasted and the day had just begun. At the first peak I stopped and sat on a log and called Jan. That’s when
Blue Ray came blasting by me. He had been climbing the same mountain Southbound. Fresh as a daisy he was and so I pretended that I was conducting some form of earth shattering must do business that could not wait. I needed him to know that I was also fresh as a daisy…. just a little older. He had begun at Harpers Ferry and was heading to Springer before going to Katahdin and back to Harpers Ferry. At the end was his fiancé who was waiting on wedding vows.
I finally made it over the first peak and with a great deal of effort stumbled into Bryant Ridge Shelter at 3.8 miles. It felt like I had hiked 20. While there two hikers Jim and Chris caught up to me. They had just begun at Jennings Creek and were backpacking for six days together. Friends since middle school they now live in Richmond and Greensboro and hike three or four times a year together. The picture above is the Bryant Ridge Shelter which was a double decker with a porch.
If you’re wondering why there are no beautiful views on this date it’s because the views matched the way I felt. The AT weather site said that the rain would hit at 2. At 5 minutes til it began….then it beganner…. then it begannest with a wicked wind accompaniment that made it an overall joyful day. I was still climbing Mt Everest with my mind suddenly thinking about abandoning my goal for a shelter 6.5 miles away for one 1.2 miles away. My schedule was in ruins! I fell into Cornelius Creek Shelter in what appeared to be a drunken stupor overjoyed to be out of the wind. Several hours later Jim and Chris staggered in looking much the same. Chris looked at me and said, “I thought that this was going to be type of inspirational journey! It’s just more than hard work.”
We shared our stories. We laughed. We compared hiking tips because they incorrectly thought that I knew more then them.
Suddenly we realized that it was 8 pm … hiker midnight. We retired to the sounds of the rain and blasting wind. Hopefully tomorrow would be better so that we could….. hike on.
I’d just like to add here that I have intended these writings to be my journal. It is to be a memory and for that reason I may say things that may unintentionally offend and for that I am sorry. Those who know me realize that I’m not politically correct and tend to speak my mind when I might be better off shutting my trap. I do not intend to build myself up in any way but rather just express how I feel during the journey. That is why you will read about the good and bad, the highs and lows, the exhilarating moments and life in a privy. A pack of cigarettes on the ground is not a condemnation of my many friends who smoke but rather my feeling that I wish they didn’t. After all I also hate black and green olives but I still love those who choose to swallow them. Gag!!!!