Day 8 & 9

Day 8

10.3 miles in 5 hours.(sample pace) 
From NOC to Locust Cove Gap. 
“These are the days that build character,” is what a guy in the sassafras shelter told me. And he was correct. Nonstop pouring rain today. I was all nice and refreshed from the NOC. A nice meal was in me overlooking the river, and the hike commenced. Less of a hike, but more a mud slide really. Just an onslaught of slippery rocks and bog so deep that my trailrunners barely stood a chance. Luckily though, no blisters and a only a mild case of trench foot. Pack lots of socks and chance them often people. Lt. Dan was right. Unpacking my tent and eating in the rain is an unpleasant experience. But I am in dry clothes in my slightly damp tent in a dry sleeping bag. I could have pushed further to the next shelter, but still would have been hiking for not a guaranteed spot.  Listening to a very loud owl and coyotes howl as I am writing this.  Exhausted, time for sleep.   

Day 9

17.1 mile day from Locust Grove Gap to Fontana Lodge
This day was filled with the lowest lows from packing up a sopping tent, to going ass over tea kettle in the muddy downhills to highs of sitting in a dry hotel room at the Fontana lodge. Luckily I was able to secure a room for the night. There is a VW convention for a very specific car that has taken over this compound. These cars apparently sound like a wookie, so this is called wookiefest or something. All I am seeing is Vape smoke and hearing an insane amount of backfires and redlining of engines. Just goes to show my luck of possibly getting a nice night sleep in a bed where I am the only one in the room, to possibly be thwarted by these “enthusiasts.” I talked with some of these guys, they seemed perfectly cool and nice, but to interrupt a hiker’s sleep is a no-no.
P.s. Wi-Fi is slow at Fontana lodge, so no pics this time. 

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