Miles today: 13.5
Miles total: 1457.4
Miles total: 1457.4
Currently sitting at the picnic table...
I think I got more sleep last night than I can remember. My dad nodded off around 7:30, and after getting in to camp so early, I had run out of things to do. I followed suit within an hour, and I didn't get out of my sleeping bag until after 7. You can't beat that amount of rest. What disturbs me is that I barely woke up during that time. I did have a dream that I was fighting Professor Snape with a medieval mace thing, so that's probably a sign I slept too long. We took our time getting ready, a luxury I rarely afford myself when I'm traveling alone. We even heated up water to make coffee! By the time we were ready to leave, I just couldn't find my buff. I searched all around the shelter before finding it on the ground. Something must have dragged it a distance before giving up on it. I shuddered and put it on anyway. We had some smooth sailing to start out, crossing the Blue Ridge Parkway frequently, which meant good views at the overlooks. I let my dad try and decipher which way the trail headed back into the woods at these points, but he often got confused. We decided to try out a trail name for him based on the state park in Ohio where he would get similarly turned around: Mohican. We'll see if the name sticks.
We stopped for lunch at Wilson Creek Shelter and plotted out our course for today and tomorrow. My dad was still feeling good and it was early, so we chose to push on to Fullhardt Knob Shelter. Pretty soon after we departed, however, my dad's knee started to hurt. I questioned the soundness of our plan. By the time we had gone 2.6 miles from the shelter, he was in a lot of pain, especially on the downhills. I had tried out a plan by switching my pack for his heavier one, but that didn't help a ton. We got down to Curry Creek and I hatched the plan to attach my pack onto his, like a piggy back. He insisted that I cut it out, but by the time I was standing with the two packs on my back (with a little help) he let me try it. I tilted forward and walked like a T-rex, working my glutes like nothing else. It worked for the larger part of the climb from the creek, but after a while I asked if we could swing my pack around to the front. That was much more comfortable, and we continued like that for a while longer. At the top of the climb, he remembered my extra ace bandage and wrapped his knee, insisting that he could carry my pack. I compromised and said I would push ahead to the shelter, then come back to carry his pack from wherever he made it. That worked well, and he enjoyed hiking with my lighter, more compact pack. This might work!
When we both finally got to the shelter, I checked the cistern. No water came out. I was exasperated, and I was definitely not having my dad hike another step today. I started off to check for water down a side trail when I noticed Lost'n'Found pull in. I said hi, notified her of the water situation, and took off downhill. This shelter is unique in that it sits on top of a peak rather than in a valley. I came back from my downhill (then uphill return) trek, still without water but with plenty of spider webs, and made a sad face at my two camp mates. They had fortunately figured out the cistern, making for a happier night all around. No complaints. We'll go to Daleville tomorrow and see how Mohican's knee is doing, but for tonight we drink Gatorade! Because the cistern water tastes like the reptile house at the zoo smells.
Picture: a Blue Ridge Parkway view.