Miles today: 28.5
Miles total: 1665.9
Miles total: 1665.9
Currently sitting in the shelter...
The cold front is here! I woke up, and my 15 degree sleeping bag was coming in handy. It was reportedly down in the 40s, so I did everything I could before getting out of my sleeping bag. It all went fairly smoothly, but I still started off hiking with my nanopuff jacket and gloves on. I warmed up as I climbed, so I took off my jacket and gloves. Suddenly, as I descended into the valley, it started to get colder. That's really unusual in my experience, but I'm no meteorologist. I popped out of the woods and into a pasture, where the sun was shining brilliantly. In the shadowy spots, it was deeply cold, but the sun made it just the right temperature. I avoided the dew on the grass by sticking to the middle of the trail. Just ahead, I saw a cow grazing smack dab in my path. I thought about petting it, but then I noticed the large cajones dangling between his legs. That was a bull. I realized that a lot of these cattle were bulls. I danced gingerly around them, of course getting a couple pictures, but not from close range. This brought me into the dew, which soaked my shoes and got my feet extra cold. After I left the pasture, there was more dew-walking, and I felt like I was walking in a freezing stream. I was so grateful to spot the Sunoco sign that indicated I had almost made it to the town of Atkins. I immediately headed to a restaurant called The Barn for breakfast, warming up with a cup of coffee. I didn't get enough to eat, so I doubled down on gas station food. That was also my resupply point. I've decided I would much rather avoid hitching when possible. It's nice to walk right up to a store. I sat outside and ate in the sun, then took off again.
The next section was uneventful as I kept my head down and considered my options for the day. Partnership Shelter for a shorter day and pizza delivery, or Trimpi Shelter for a longer day and potential rendezvous with Brightside and DD? I decided I would wait and see. I stopped to use the privy at Chatfield Shelter and found out that Brightside and DD had stayed there and were headed to Marion today. I was going to catch up finally! I hauled to Partnership Shelter and left a note in the log for my two friends. I also checked out the shelter, which had a laundry basin and a hot shower. It was sad to move on, but I knew I'd be happy tomorrow when I was hiking through Grayson Highlands State Park in the sun. As I got up to leave, Brightside and DD walked up, back from town. Turns out we shared plans to end up at Trimpi Shelter tonight. On the hike there, we leapfrogged as Brightside overtook me, then I overtook him as he took a break. I found an amazing setup of trail magic, with a huge chest of food. I was eating chips as I walked through a cow pasture, and they all seemed pretty interested. I was still scared from this morning, so I took the long way around again. Soon enough I was at the shelter, which was really full of section hikers. I managed to snag a bunk up top, but Brightside and DD ended up tenting. There's a fire going in the shelter's fireplace, so I have the section hikers to thank for that! I was kind of looking forward to just hanging out with DD and Brightside tonight, but the evening was still very enjoyable. We have tomorrow to hang out!
Picture: aggressive cows.