Day 30 – Tick Magnet
In the last 24 hours, I’ve found more ticks on me (4) than I’ve found since I started (2 before today). Still nothing compared to the 15 ticks we found on Stan at the last hostel! Hatcher and Rabbit also found some on them today as well. I gave all the humans some doxycycline. I’ve got quite the stockpile as I used to have to take them every day for Malaria prophylaxis when I was stationed in Honduras. In retrospect, this may not have been the best idea.
We woke up and got going a little before 9 this morning. Fourteen miles planned today would make it our biggest day since Max Patch. There were a lot of ups today. Over 4000 feet in elevation gain, and it made things slow. We also took a lot of breaks.
We took a 0.15-mile side trail to Rich Mountain fire tower (6 for 6 now). It felt nice to take our packs off; they still feel heavy from our resupply. The views were decent and we probably could have even pitched tents up there had we known yesterday what it looked like. We had lunch around the 5-mile mark for the day at Spring Mountain Shelter. Lunch was heavy, 2 tortillas, 2 tuna packets, pop tarts, and peanut butter. In retrospect, this may not have been the best idea.
On two occasions, people told us they saw rattlesnakes but we never witnessed them firsthand. We took a detour at Allen Gap to collectively soak our feet. We took another detour for trail magic at a random house in the woods. This house had cookies and water jugs. In retrospect, this may not have been the best idea.
We finally arrived at Little Laurel Shelter around 6:30 PM. It’s a small 5-person shelter, 2 of the spots had already been claimed so at least a few of us would be tenting. As I set mine up, Stan (the dog) plopped down on my sleeping mat. Once my tent was up I threw everything inside. Getting my sleeping mat back from Stanley took some coaxing. I felt bad, so once the bed was set up inside my tent, I invited him in, and he obliged. It started to rain, so we took a power nap as he rested his head on my leg.
I woke up to get ready for bed and eat. I went down to the spring for water and chugged a bunch of it. The privy was used and I ate my other meatball packet to cut down on weight. I force myself to eat it even though I was not very hungry. In retrospect, this may not have been the best idea.
As I settled into my tent my stomach was not sitting well. I took an antacid and sat upright for 15 minutes, burping trying to settle things down. Nothing helped. I suddenly noticed my mouth watering, I knew what was coming next; my dinner. (The time to stop reading is now if you’re easily squeamish or about to eat.)
Out came the meatballs, acidic sauce, and copious amounts of water. It became a positive feedback loop as the taste came out make nose which induced even more vomiting. After 4-5 cycles, I was done and had a meal fit for a bear just outside my tent ( I like to live dangerously).
So maybe it was the antibiotics, the heavy lunch, random cookie magic, or just eating too much when I was full. Or maybe it was wearing the Jabbawockeez mask I found at the base of the fire tower. I suppose we’ll never know.
After taking small sips of water and brushing my teeth, I think I’m ready to pass out. Ear plugs may not be the wisest choice with bear bait (or any animal really) right outside my tent. In all honesty, I should probably move, buuutt I’m stubborn and tired and that combination will win out tonight. Wish me luck.
Stow away in my pack to find out if I make it to day 31 on the Appalachian Trail.
You’re legitimately a great dude. I see a lot of myself in you (which I would expect you to turn into a dirty joke), which is why we get along so well. Thanks for always opening up your house to us at the “Austin crash pad” and being so accommodating with your spicy bacon, even when we don’t deserve it. Come hike a few miles with me soon!
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