Miles Hiked: 12.0
Miles Left: 1814.3
Ending Location: Camping at mile 371, right before Hughes Gap
This was the first time on the AT where I slept through the whole night. Apparently being completely exhausted has its benefits! Paired with the fact that the privy at the shelter consisted of a shovel, we once again got a slow start to the day.
The weather had warmed up considerably so the hike today consisted of wading through mud and slush. Even with waterproof boots and gaiters we both found ourselves having to take frequent breaks to air out our soaked feet and socks. Today was more of a “We need to make miles”, vs a joy of hiking sort of day. At one of the gaps though we found someone offering soda and moon pies so we stopped to chat for a bit and as predicted had a soda each. It’s not that we don’t learn so much as it’s physically impossible to not drink a soda that’s offered to you when hiking.
We also ran into two hikers, one of which was having “issues” at both ends. His friend thought it was food poisoning, but whatever it was they were not having a good time. I gave them all my Camelback Elixir drink supplements since that essentially turns water into Gateraid which he needed. Luckily I have my backup shaker of light salt so I can still replace the electrolytes I’m sweating out. Let’s hear it for forty pound bags!
The highlight today though was near the end. We decided to pass up the shelter and camp at an “unofficial” camp site that was three miles past it instead. Part of those three miles were up a mountain that looked unassuming in the guide but turned into a real fun rock climb. At the top I carefully made my way out onto an overhanging rock cliff to watch the sun slowly set over the countryside. It was exactly what I needed after all the monotonous sliding through the mud.