Day 33: Rivers of Sleeve Water and Not Fine Bucks

Reluctant Morning

I did not sleep well. My phone was across the room because the power station was there and I think knowing that I couldn’t easily check the time kept me up. I really have an unhealthy addiction with my phone. I started stirring when I heard the others. It was 7:06.

I did not want to hike. I was looking at the elevation profile and saw that it was a lot of up. Nearly 4,000 feet to be exact. It was also suppose to rain.

I got up and began packing my things. My stuff was scattered everywhere. It was a miracle that I didn’t forget something. Fine Young Buck and Blaze went to eat breakfast at the diner and Sweeper and I ate what we had. I had leftover salad that really was a burrito bowl. It didn’t fill my stomach, but it was enough. I left the hostel with a sticker and noticed that DunkAroo was still in his tent sleeping. Hopefully he’d get up soon.

Goodbyes in the Rain

The moment I began walking, it started to rain. Today was going to be a day that my raingear and backpack would be tested. At least the weather was semi-warm, so I wouldn’t completely freeze.

I stopped by the diner and said goodbye to Blaze before continuing on. He had a torn meniscus and couldn’t continue.

Do I Stay or Do I Go?

For the first four miles, I spent the entire time debating on heading back to Hot Springs once I hit Highway 70E. It was pouring and I just wasn’t having a good time. Honestly, I just wanted a nap. I passed by Sun Bird, a hiker who I’ve stayed at shelters with in the Smokies, and he offered me a ride from the highway since he was slackpacking SOBO and his wife was picking him up. Weirdly enough, that reaffirmed my need to keep going. Although, I got to a water source and called my dad to settle the debate. “Just keep going. You’re going to regret it if you don’t,” he said. I knew it was the right decision, just not the one I wanted to hear. I kept going.

More and More Rain

The closer and closer I got to Tanyard Gap,  a.k.a. the highway, the more and more I suspected that I wasn’t feeling a buildup of sweat in my jacket, but rainwater. On the downhill, I felt myself grow colder. Yup, that’s rainwater.

I passed a nice damed pond that smelled funky and was soon at the gap. I only had five more miles. And it was uphill. With the pouring rain, I had no desire to stop and eat lunch. I had a protein bar and continued on my way.

At some point, I had to stop and put my phone somewhere else besides my jacket pocket. It was getting wet. My clean handkerchief was soaking wet in my other pocket. I also had to stop to apply some Bodyglide.

The uphill was easy. I occasionally had to stop when I felt something graze my elbow, though. I then had to drop my arms and a stream of water would flow down onto the ground. I think a poncho may be the route to go. No point carrying a rain jacket that weighs a pound when it doesn’t work. Then again, most don’t work. An umbrella would be nice.

Spring Mountain Shelter

Hawaii posing in front of the shelter.

I was ready to eat when I finally made it to the shelter. I had to change out of my clothes, though. Hypothermia could kick in quickly if I loitered around in wet clothing. Everything was wet. Hell, a better word would be soaked. I never take off my bra, but I had to this time. I wrung it out and water just poured off it. I was much warmer after taking off my hiking clothes. The rain finally stopped too.

I went to grab water and came back to see Fine Young Buck had made it to camp. He debated on sleeping in the shelter and  decided to do so. There was room for one more and he took it. I made dinner and ate it in the shelter as it had started to rain hard again. By that point, I only had half a salad and a protein bar for an intense eleven mile day. I was hungry. I snacked on a good portion of my supplies too.

When I was finished, I began following everyone’s lead and started drapping my wet clothing on branches. I know it’s not going to dry. I’m just hopeful it will. It started to sprinkle, so I rehung my clothing in the shelter. Yeah, I’m going to be putting on wet clothes in the morning.

Sweeper admiring his work.

Cramping and the Navy

Since I had cell service, I called my mom to let her know where I was. I told her about my day, but that was the extent of the conversation. I hung up and listened to Hawaii and Fine Young Buck talk about their time in the navy. It was a solid discussion that lasted over an hour. I sat and listened.

As it got colder, conversation moved into the shelter. It was a good time. Fine Young Buck, Hawaii, and I were constantly laughing. Sweeper, who goes to bed at 6:00 on most nights, pulled out his earbuds to listen to our hysterical gibberish. At one point, Fine Young Buck got up to move his clothing out from the rain and stopped. He made a noise and I looked over to see one knee bend and the other leg extended. “Cramp?” I ask. “My thigh,” he replied, strained. We started laughing. “You don’t look like a fine young buck,” stated Hawaii. We all laughed even harder. Like I said, it was a good time.

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Comments 8

  • Flash : Apr 22nd

    Your dad’s right. You will never regret continuing your hike. You will remember this time forever. Try not to think about quitting, just think about the minute that you are in. You can do it!

  • DEB : Apr 22nd

    And you would’ve missed all that laughter! Try to remember that next time you think you might be done. You are stronger than you think.

  • Adam Yarbrough : Apr 23rd

    I was always taught never give up on a bad day, your regret it. As an expedition paddler, I have to remind my self there is a reason your out on your adventure, some days are easier then others. And every mile you don’t move is another mile you have to tomorrow. Keep up your hard work.

  • Just Steve (Hey Google) : Apr 23rd

    I’ve hiked with you. You’ve got this. If I have to come back out there with a broken foot and push you along. You’re going to get an earful! 🙂

    • Morgan Schmidt : Apr 23rd

      I must have worded the blog wrong. I was never thinking of ending the hike. Whatsoever. I just wanted to head back to take a nero. The rain sucked and the temptation to nap was strong. And keep healing! So you can come back out on trail.

  • Phyllis G : Apr 23rd

    Proud of you for continuing your journey! Poncho is better than jacket and umbrellas are good unless you are having 40 MPH wind gusts.

  • Just Steve (Hey Google) : Apr 24th

    Nay, I know you’re not going to quit. I just want you to keep moving forward. And thanks. I’m working on it!

  • Gene Leffler : Apr 24th

    It is nice to hear how you are doing on the trail. Keep up the good work. Please continue to let us know your progress. Looking forward to hear your progress.


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