Today’s mileage: 19.1
Total mileage: 440.8
We got up a bit earlier today to make sure we packed everything up before the rain hit. The first 8 miles or so weren’t bad at all. We had to take a detour however near Watauga Lake since it had flooded recently. Trees, benches, and picnic tables were now in the lake. We got a little trail magic there however in the form of apples. We ate them as we took the detour past a few homes and horses.
It had rained a little on and off in the morning, but just as we hit the ridge line we would be hiking on for most of the day, it started to pour. I had been sweating with my raincoat on beforehand and not ten minutes later, I was soaked. The wind was blowing so hard and the rain was just coming down like no other. I have a rain wrap instead or pants, which I thought was a good idea when I bought it last fall. Today I wish I had the pants. The damn thing kept riding up exposing my legs to the elements. I had really liked it up until today. Instead I was cursing at it all day. Not that it mattered. I was soaked from top to bottom with sweat and rain. Hey, at least me feet didn’t really hurt today. Maybe it was all the water in my boots and socks. It must have provided me with some extra cushioning. 😉
I was super frustrated dealing with the rain wrap, the cold caused by the wind, and the fact that my hands were freezing. If I didn’t keep them moving, they froze up. Both of us were having a hard time doing anything with our hands up until we got to camp and warmed up. It wasn’t as cold as it was a couple of weeks ago, but a driving rain and high wind make everything miserable. I got hungry, but I didn’t want to stop, take my pack off, and get cold. Not to mention delay the time it would take us to get to camp. I was in survival mode. I just wanted to be warm and dry.
Thankfully, we made good time and hiked the 19 miles in just over 8 hours. We even did a little jogging to stay warm. I didn’t know it was even possible for me to run with a 30ish lb. pack on my back.
We could have stopped at the second shelter we passed today like we did in the Smokies that day when there was freezing rain. But we knew even if we took a break there, we wouldn’t want to move on. What got me through today was the promise of crossing over into Virginia tomorrow. We’ve still got a long day ahead of us tomorrow, but I really can’t believe we’ve made it this far. Heading into Virginia and at almost 500 miles! Next time I report in we’ll be in our fourth state. Here’s to hoping for a sunny day tomorrow.