Rainy Days and Mondays

As I sit in the Wildwood Grill and Lounge waiting for my personal-size veggie pizza to come out so I can take it back to my room at the Fontana Village Lodge where I can eat it with the patio door propped open so I can hear the raindrops, I reflect on the topic of the day – hiking in the wet.

But first let me back up and consider what I have learned over the past 30 days, most of which have seen me in the wild. First, a warm thanks to my new friend Blue Raccoon, a critical care nurse who I properly met after we both shivered through a windy night on Trey Mountain, the only difference being I secured the last spot in the shelter while she bravely slept just beside us in her tent. I must confess, while I was in the shelter I didn’t feel too bad for her but once we got up the next morning, wowza. Temps below freezing and 40 mph wind most of the night. Blue Raccoon’s take – “It is what it is.”  When I met her again at a water stop before the next shelter and she pointed out we were about equally slow I knew we would be friends.

So over the next week I met Raccoon’s husband, Eddie, who pulled their camper from Fort Pierce, Fla., to meet her and they welcomed me onto their vestibule until the roof blew off during a ridiculous Franklin windstorm. I then migrated inside with the Raccoons and their pups Sailor and Gypsy while Eddie valiantly drove us to and from our hiking venues for nearly a week. Good thing too because this was the week of the most miserable conditions we have seen so far on the trail, with snow and cold combined.

 A Little Help from Our Friends

Which brings me back to hiking in the rain. During my early tenting nights I would wake up every morning with a raspy throat. Turns out hopping into your sleeping bag in the same clothes and socks you hike in is not a good idea. It took a nurse and mom to teach this former university administrator that trick.

So I am being looked out for, from above and here on the ground. Sister Kathy picked me up Friday for a great weekend in Hot Springs and I am trying hard not to feel guilt over my vacation from my vacation.

As Kathy dropped me off this morning to begin my seven-day trek through the Smokies I let her sisterly wisdom take hold and I am in a nice room to wait out the next two days of rain.

One thing learned even before I began this adventure and despite the die-hards I know are out there and are sure to challenge me on this – no one likes to hike in the rain.

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