Day 4 & Part Of 5

Nancy Drew And The Closed Hostel

Our initial plan today is no longer valid when we hear the hostel we are heading too is no longer open.  Some hikers left sick so they closed it until the state could test for cleanliness.  Everybody is scrambling for an alternate.  NancyDrew made a few calls this morning and got us a cabin that slept four that was only two days away.  Free laundry with the nights stay and a short walk off the trail.  Perfect.  Claus and a young lady named Elena who overheard our discussion agreed to share the cost.  Our dilemma was solved before breakfast.

I had one of my favorite freeze dried meals of biscuits and gravy for breakfast. Evidently Germans don’t know about gravy.  As we leave camp I see an ominous sign:  Elena is doing stretches or yoga with the loud German from the night before.

Not Enough Problems

Nancy Drew is getting bored with the level of mysteries to solve so she starts to invent her own.  First up:  missing gear.  One item turns up in her pocket.  Another item is found later in her pack that she was sure was lost forever.  We need something to dominate her attention.

We just walked 4 miles over Ramrock mountain and stop at an overlook parking area.  There were garbage cans so it was the first time that I could get rid of our garbage bag.  We had a full ziploc bag about 1/2 gallon size.  Claus was waiting for us.  It is 2pm.  We just filled up with water about a half mile before but Claus must have skipped it thinking there was a sink in the public restroom at the stop. There wasn’t so Becky gave him some of hers.

I can see Alena across the street.  She is still hiking with the loud German.  We have another 3 1/2 miles to go from here.  I’m going to listen to some music on this next part. Or maybe not. The new phone needs wifi to access my music.  Just another missed detail on my preparation.

Lance Creek

We got to Lance Creek at 6pm.  Claus greeted us.  He offered to get our water while we set up our camp.  Of course, Becky struck up a conversation with a Buckeye fan that was more antagonistic than anything.  8:15pm and just about dark.

Our group of a combination of 14 tents and hammocks have all gone to bed except the few who were up late yesterday as well, Elena and the loud German who I now know as Phillipp.  I am waiting for Becky to get done with a bathroom break so I can hang our food bags.  All I can think about is the cabin tomorrow.  A shower, laundry, pizza, and sleeping in a bed.

Blood Mountain

Day 5 is hell.  No words can describe how tortuous the day treats me.  I thought we did Blood Mountain yesterday.  For breakfast Becky gives me a peanut butter bar of some sort.  It tastes like heaven as the first part of the trail starts out uphill.  Up a little farther.  Up some more.  I don’t think we will ever go downhill today.

Becky and I decide that I’ll try to keep up with Claus so he doesn’t have to wait multiple hours to get in the cabin.  I have her dirty clothes bag so my plan is to get to the cabin and get her clothes washed and waiting so she can hit the shower and have a fresh change waiting.  She later tells me that she thought about me getting to the cabin, dropping my pack, and then hiking back to carry hers whatever distance remained.  Neither of those situations would become reality.

Blood Mountain Shelter

Blood Mountain Shelter is at the top of Blood Mountain.  I can only imagine it got its name because of some mutiny by the people who had to climb this outcropping of Hell to build it.  The sun is out but I am already chilly from dehydration.  Minutes later Becky appears.  Or am I hallucinating also.  My brownie points plan won’t work if I don’t put some distance between us.

As she settles down for a rest I kiss her cheek and quickly head out.  If she rests for an hour I will have my window of opportunity to get the laundry done as planned.

Blood Mountain Downhill

The descent is brutal.  The start is all rock.  My right knee starts to hurt.  Every step is a journey of discovery to find the right placement to enjoy the least amount of pain.  This can’t get any worse.  Teenagers on a day hike pass me going uphill.  They have no water with them.  One asks me, “how much farther?”.  I telling him to save himself and turn back.

My only driving force is knowing Becky is going through this same gauntlet.  Sweat has started dropping down the front of my hat and simultaneously on each side.  I’m out of water.  Just make it so Becky has a good memory of this day to counter my struggles.  Minutes later,  Becky passes me…

To be continued


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