Hiking in the rain clears the head (551.6m)

Waking up in a bed after two nights in my hammock didn’t feel right; it was like cheating. But, to put it frankly, it beat trying to pitch camp in the pouring rain yesterday. The pizza was bloody amazing, too.

Anyway, up, shower, blah blah – nothing new to tell you.

TD, Specs, and I went across the street to the Barn Restaurant and treated ourselves to a breakfast of eggs, bacon, hash browns, home fries, and a biscuit. Coffee and ice cold water was also enjoyed by all.

It was late when we headed out onto the trail, nearly 10:30am – the latest I’d ever started. It was already raining when we climbed through a very gentle incline through meadows and knee high grass. Passing through a cow pasture we stopped to make “mooing” noises as several of the bulls enjoyed a nice morning shag. Lovely.

Onward and upward we climbed through dense undergrowth, and then the heavens really opened. At one point I said aloud, “are you taking the piss?!” as the downpour turned the trail into a creek. The day went on, and so did the drenching. At one point I thought it was slowing down so I started to sing: “I’m singing in the rain, just singing in the rain! What a glorious feeling, I’m on the trail again!” – then it pissed down so hard, like the man upstairs decided that my singing voice was worth drowning out, literally.

Whatever; I kept singing, and Tie Dye joined me.

We stopped at a couple of places to eat a quick bite – we couldn’t stand still for long because it was just too wet and raining hard, and stopping walking would lead to cold muscles.

The rain did subside at about 2:30pm so we broke for lunch, and I precariously tried to pull apart my stuck-together tortillas – I laid out some cheese singles on one of them, three slices of ham on top of that, and slathered on the Cholula Hot Sauce — utterly delicious — I was about 10 seconds from heaven. My fingers were still wet and puckered, and as I went to put down the bottle, the f*cking thing slipped out of my hand and shattered on the rock I was sitting on. Hot sauce explosion, everywhere. On the rock, all over the forest floor, and all over me and my rain kilt. I looked like a proper tw*t.

The others felt it necessary to point and laugh, then take pictures.

Shit, just goddam shit.

I cleaned myself up and slung my pack over my shoulders and off I went – with my long face.

Tie Dye had called Bubba’s shuttles from the guide book — after her fair share of laughing and pointing — and we had our ride into Bland, VA.

It was about 3:20pm when we got to VA610, and Bubba rolled up at around 4:00pm. We all hopped in the back of his truck and laughed and took pictures the whole way.

I have a cheeseburger with my name on it. My stache is also coming along nicely again. And I realized tonight looking in the motel room mirror that I’ve put back on some of the lbs I’d lost before I left at Hemlock Hollow. I’ll work on that over the next few days/weeks I’m sure.

My ankle feels strong. These shoes are awesome. I ordered some new ones, a half size bigger, and they should arrive at the motel day after tomorrow.

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There’s nothing like hiking in diagonal rain (250.6m)

Spoke to my honey at 7:00am, just as she was waking. I got to watch her morning routine as she washed her face and brushed her teeth, all the while trying to keep talking. Funny.

I hit the trail at Davenport Gap at 8:50am and I was instantly winded. The two days off trail had slowed me down considerably. I felt weak and breathy, I couldn’t find my rhythm at all. To make matters worse it was hot and humid. Sweat was pouring down the sides of my face just ten minutes in – good lord.

I was meeting the crew at the I-40 overpass and they arrived about 20 minutes after me; I’d hiked the 1.6 miles or so to meet where they’d been picked up the night they got off trail two days ago.

It was uphill for 5 miles, and oh man was it tough. Hot, humid, and steep.

The rain came about 2 hours in and it poured; the temps dropped rapidly as the sky became dark grey, I was going to get soaked. Rain jacket donned, I pressed on through the storm. Rain shot diagonally and it stung my face and hands. A little over an hour later it stopped, the sun came out, and it was warm again. I stopped to dry my clothes and shoes for a while, then continued to climb.

We got to Brown Gap around 4:00pm and I set up my hammock – I was beside myself with excitement about going to bed!

Dinner of a Pasta Side with cheese and bacon macaroni with some sriracha wrapped inside tortillas tasted like a 4 star meal.

It’s now 7:39pm and still light out, heck, the birds are still chirping in the trees above my head.

I can hear Tie Dye snoring from 100′ feet away, lol.

Hoping for a good night of sleep. Bear bag hung and I’m finishing this last paragraph, I’m tired. I couldn’t get any cell service here which is both annoying and ironic given my “out of the Smokies” comment earlier. I hate it when I can’t call or text home, I hope she doesn’t think I’m not trying – I walked about 1/8 mile down the gravel road earlier to see if I could get a better signal. No dice, bollocks.

Completed 250 miles today.

Jolly out.

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