I got up early today with the intention of doing a 20 mile day to the No Business Knob shelter and then finishing up tomorrow to Erwin, TN. The morning was beautiful and as Jitter and I climbed out of camp we met the sun coming over the mountains and a sweet lab mix playing along the trail near her mom. The terrain was pretty tough today but I wanted to get as close to Erwin as I could as I had a hotel reservation there and was looking forward to getting a shower and my clothes cleaned.
I lost Jitter about 5 miles in and left her a note at the next shelter. When I got there around 4:30 I decided to push another 7 miles and get to the hotel a night early so I could take a true zero tomorrow and recuperate out of the rain. It was really eerie on the trail today. I didn’t see any other hikers until I got to the last shelter. When I got there most of them were getting off tomorrow for good. It’s so hard to be out here right now trying to push through with so many people leaving. Several times during the day I had to yell out my new mantra “I’m gonna make it!” into the woods and sending the birds and squirrels scampering. Poor critters don’t know what to do about this stinky crazy man with his home on his back screaming into the woods. I even stopped at one point today and hugged a tree. If felt good.
I know there are still hikers out there but it’s getting lonely. I’ve received so many great texts and messages from friends and family over the past few days. It’s a jolt of energy each time I get one and keeps me going.
My hotel was another mile or so off the trail so today ended up being around 28 miles and by the time I got here I was cooked. I took an amazing shower and ordered a pizza and salad while I cleaned up all my gear. The pizza was amazing too but I just about fell asleep eating it so I left my laundry for tomorrow and am hitting the sack. I am going to rest and resupply tomorrow and plan my next push to Roan Mountain. Please send good vibes for an improvement in the virus situation and for all of those good people out there struggling to keep their lives in order.