July 15, 2015

Today was really, really hard. Last night the thunder started up again, and then the rain started, and because of the stealth camping I'd hung my hammock over rocks and hadn't been able to stake my tarp very well so it blew around and got my hammock wet and woke me up and I had to get out of bed in the middle of the cold, windy, rainy night to retie my lines and it was very unpleasant and then I slept in until 10 because I'd gotten so little sleep, so I didn't start hiking until 11, again, which has GOT to change. And then, the blazes abruptly stopped. The trail was clear the whole time, it hadn't split or anything like that, but it was as if the trail crew had run out of white paint. I was going crazy, alternating between walking listlessly on the trail and plowing desperately along, never sure if I was heading the right direction or whether the lichen I was seeing was blazes or the blazes I was seeing were lichen. And then I got to about the 24 hour mark since I'd last interacted with a human, and then I think I saw a bear cub trundling down the mountain, and then I realized my car was only 15 miles away by the parkway, and I broke down a little (lot) bit, so I got a ride from some Texans at an overlook that marked the highest point on the Blue Ridge Parkway. I've never been so happy to see anything in my life as I was to see my little Hyundai sitting there, still teal, still missing a side mirror, ready to take me back to Chapel Hill. So now I'm here, figuring out how to make my trail experience better. I had a moment, a few moments honestly, when I wasn't sure if I wanted to continue at all, but going forward I'll have Bixby, and I'll be dropping a couple pounds from my pack hopefully, and my blisters will be a little bit healed, and things will be better. More posts after Aileen and Nick get hitched and I get back on the trail.