May 6, 2013
Today’s mileage: 18.1
Total mileage: 681.0
I’m happy to report that the missing earplug was recovered. I was sleeping on top of it the entire night and it made an appearance as I was putting away my sleeping bag.
In other news, today’s hike was wet. And treacherous.
Our first ascent of the day seemed to take forever. My guidebook said it was only about 2.5 miles, but we seemed to think that it was longer. I fell for the first time in awhile as I was drinking from my Camelbak. I slid down a rock onto my side. Falling sucks, but getting back on my feet with a 30 lb. pack sucked even more in this case. The rain let up as we took our first and only break of the day at Laurel Creek Shelter, almost six miles into our hike. I fell again as we were crossing a stream not long after that. I fell on a rock and one of my feet got soaked in a small pool of water. This time, I laughed. Miles turned around after he heard me fall and almost fell himself. I wish there was someone around to record all of our falls. I think I would end up watching and re-watching them again and again. A good fall never gets old.
We passed by the largest oak in the south, the Keffer or Kieffer Oak. Not sure which spelling is correct. My book says Kieffer and the sign said Keffer. It was simply massive. The tree is over 300 years old and is slightly smaller than another oak tree along the AT in New York. A section hiker stopped to talk to us as we were hiking through a cow pasture this afternoon. He is making a video documenting each thru-hiker he has met on his hike this year. We had thirty seconds each to say who we are, where we’re from, and anything else we wanted to add. He’s going to compile all of the clips and said that he would post it on White Blaze, so I hope we get to see that at some point. He had already met 40 so far. He was hiking with his older brother and come to find out, Yoda was one of ten brothers! Their parents had one girl, putting their total at eleven children in ten years. His hiking partner and brother, Fran, was an Irish triplet, having twin brothers born 11 months before him. I had heard of Irish twins, but never of Irish triplets, so it was pretty neat to meet one today.
The last part of the day we hiked on the ridge crest of Sinking Creek Mountain. It was windy and rainy on the exposed rocks and we were lucky enough to have to hike across them! It was very slippery and we were miserable. Miles fell pretty hard on his side on one of the rocks. He ended up being okay, but it didn’t look good from my angle. He also fell again down a hill on some mud and did a 180 and landed on his stomach. That was a bit amusing for both of us.
We were relieved when we started heading down the mountain and off of the damn rocks that were making our hike a bit scarier than we had anticipated. We crossed many new streams flowing down the mountain from the rain and some parts of the trail were flooded. I fell for the third and final time today on our descent on another rock. I fell on my wrist, which hurt for awhile after I had fallen, but a few hours later, it seems to be fine.
We made it to the shelter around 6:15, only to find YOLO here, a section hiker from Germany. There was plenty of room and plenty of places to hang up our soaking wet clothes. Rain gear can only keep your clothes dry for so long. I smelled like soaking wet sweat (yes, this a real smell) and my shoes felt like water beds. We made some tortellini my mom had sent us and we settled in for the night. My mom must be able to read my mind, because only a day before we got her package in Pearisburg, I was thinking about how much I wanted to eat tortellini. Magically, the next day I receive a bag of tortellini! With its cheesy goodness and easy clean-up, the Barilla bag of tortellini is a new favorite.
While we’re expecting rain again tomorrow, we can only hope the hiking is less treacherous for us.