Day 98: In which aqua blazing is not an option

Miles Hiked: 13.6
Miles Left: 1332.5
Ending Location: Paul C Wolfe Shelter, Mile 852.8

I had a decision to make this morning. Should I take another zero day in the hotel or head out to the trail? Owl and crew were leaving that afternoon to start their aqua blazing adventure so if I wanted a ride to the trail from him I had to take advantage of that then. Admittedly I could have instead hired a taxi/shuttle the next day if I zeroed but the costs start adding up and more importantly every zero day put me farther behind my friends and lessened the chances of me finishing on time. It’s not like I have a deadline but I’d really like to finish the AT before September!

As you could have guessed by reading the miles hiked stat at the top of this post, I decided to go out and hike today. I figured I’d take things easy and if I started to get sicker or my leg rashes spread I could still head back into town. Heck if I made good time I could even stay in a hotel for the night as Rockfish gap was coming up and that was the main hitch point into Waynsboro. There even was a hotel right at that gap if I arrived too late to catch a ride into town.

Once on the trail though I did anything but make good time. It turns out the rashes I was dealing with were heat rashes as they started to break out on my arms as well. I had to take things slow, keep cool, and drink lots and lots of water. I also took some benedryl to keep the itching down so I was walking in a haze. The medicine helped during the hot part of the day but as evening set in I did not take another dose as I did not like being on it and having to negotiate obstacles with a pack on my back.

I met a number of AT hikers I hadn’t seen before. Taking a couple of low milage days and then a zero will do that. I’m not sure if I made a good first impression as I wasn’t exactly the most cheerful person in the world but it was good to talk to them. Most of them had seen a bear but I must have completely missed. Everyone was also excited about getting into Waynsboro so I was able to give them the lowdown of the town thanks to my recent stay there.

Throughout the day I was also trying to get back in the habit of taking side trails to see the views. I was very happy I did that as not only were there some great spots but I ran into a vey nice couple out for a short backpacking trip. The guy remarked that he always missed vegetables when hiking so he had brought way too many and he then offered me some. That had to be the healthiest trail magic I’ve received to date and it was much appreciated!

At the shelter I ran into Gargoyle, a soft spoken college student hiking the AT, and a group of brothers, all of whom were middle aged and had traveled across the country to meet up and go backpacking. It was a fun group and the shelter itself was so nice I ended up staying in it vs setting up my tent like I normally do. Usually this is where I’d say I had no problems sleeping that night, but I was itching something awful. Eventually though sleep did come and once it did I didn’t wake up again till the morning.

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