Miles today: 20.4
Miles total: 1369.8
Miles total: 1369.8
Currently sitting in the shelter...
Like I said, RAIN. But not as much of it as I expected. My day started with a few pitter-patters on my tent as I was taking it down, and those steadily grew as I climbed up and over Three Ridges Mountain. Afterwards, I dropped steadily into a gap until I came upon Harper's Creek Shelter. I stopped for a break, consuming more food than I had planned and drying off a bit in the process. Perhaps I've forgotten how to budget the right amount of food when I'm not stopping in a town or at a wayside every day. I'll have to resupply before I get to Buchanan, my next planned stop. I dropped even further into the gap, until I was only 900 feet above sea level. I believe this was done to emphasize the immensity of the mountain before me. I began my biggest climb of the day. Ascending The Priest was probably the longest sustained climb I have ever done. It was done in true Virginia fashion, with bountiful switchbacks and an even grade. This made the 3000-foot climb into a drawn-out affair. After 4.5 miles and multiple breaks for physical and mental reasons, the ground leveled out and I was standing on top of my first 4000-footer since New Hampshire. I let out a weird whooping sound and trekked the rest of the way to the shelter. There I met three flip-floppers. That means they started going one direction on the trail, reached a destination, then traveled back to their starting location to finish the rest of the trail. We all had plans to stay at the next shelter, so I told them I'd see them later as they debarked in turn. I stayed to use the available cell phone coverage and to write in the shelter log. Being in The Priest Shelter, many had written their entries like a confessional. I wrote something that had to do with a double entendre involving my trail name, so I won't repeat it here.
I headed out into the last drips of water from the leaves, happy to have the hard part of the day over with. I easily cruised the last 6.5 miles, passing my shelter-mates on the way and claiming my beloved side spot in the shelter. If you ain't first, you're last! Just kidding. After consulting with my bunkmates, it was determined that I should go in to Buena Vista (pronounced Byoona Vista) to get some more food. I have to adjust to eating only what I have in my pack. In other words, I need to bring more food to satisfy my gargantuan appetite. Knowing that I had a town visit tomorrow meant that I could eat whatever I wanted instead of rationing, so I went to town on some Little Debbie brownies. I think my friends in the shelter were a little disturbed by the joy these foods brought me. But we all understand the happiness from the little things out here. Like when you get in to the shelter juuuuust before a massive downpour. Eric, the last of the group to arrive, should have walked a little faster, unfortunately. Oh well. Until tomorrow!
Pictures: my face looking at a view; the view my face was looking at.