Day 30: Mile 337
Is basically what we tell each other when someone looks at you with eyes that say “why is it still raining?!”
I’ve officially completed my longest stint of rain days, 5 days of getting up, hiking, and going to bed and it’s still raining! It was tough, the rain puts some including myself, in a funk some days. It tends to break people which I had heard, and now fully understand why. I was lucky, in some way I guess, to take myself out of hypothermic conditions and find a roof over my head, but many hikers keep going on. It’s all about what works for you, and this past 5 days and nights of rain required two nights in a bunkhouse for me. I got my miles in but knew that I needed a dry place for the night on Monday and Wednesday.
The group I had been hiking with, Butch Cassidy, Sundance, K-Tom, PW, and Playmaker, all hunkered down Wednesday night in the sweetest place, called Nature’s Inn. Sara and Taft, the owners, are a retired couple that really wanted to help out the hiking community and get involved after each of their fathers recently passed away. They built the bunkhouses and cabins, and my personal favorite, the gorgeous bathhouse themselves. Sara said she wanted a bathhouse that her 86-year old mother could step inside of, so it’s definitely several levels up from a normal hiker experience! Best on the trail yet! The whole stay was warm and inviting, and we all felt loved by Taft and Sara’s hospitality. Such a great stay on a rough week, and for only $20 too!
Thursday morning we headed out for an 18 mile hike to get us just shy of Erwin. All day rain surprisingly didn’t slow us down too much, except the handful of miles where the mud was so thick your shoes occasionally were threatened of getting sucked right off your feet!
As some will say, after a rough morning of climbing in the rain, “the trail provided.” We arrived to the top of Big Bald Mountain to a break in the rain and the dense fog. And what a sight!
The rest of the afternoon went pretty much as expected, more rain, dropping temperatures, and lucky for me, grabbing the last spot in the shelter. I was getting way too cold in my soaked clothes so a shelter spot was a saving grace to allow me to change quickly to dry clothes and climb into my quilt to warm up. Setting up a tent in those conditions would have been no good.
The group at this shelter was new, but nothing brings a group together than building a bonfire size fire during the hour break in the rain! Having your hiking clothes and shoes just 50% dryer than before is a major moral booster.
Heading into Erwin to meet up with my parents and Grandma, which has been definitely something to look forward to after a week like this one.