Trimpi Shelter(521.7) to Stealth Campsite(539.6) 17.9 miles
For some reason I did not sleep very well last night. I'm not sure exactly why, but I woke up every 20-30 minutes thinking it was time to get up. As a result I was dragging all day. I finally got up at 5:45 and didn't leave camp until 7:20. It just took me forever to get going. The temperature was pretty cold as well, but it quickly warmed up. I started the morning with a steep uphill climb out of the shelter. After only a mile or two I came into a clearing with a nice meadow and a great view.
I took my time so that I could take in the view. Shortly after I crossed a bridge over a stream. It was a pretty cool mountain stream and a nicely built bridge.
The rest of the early morning went by in a blur. I only remember a series of short steep climbs. At the top of one climb I caught up to Airlock and she gleefully announced, "We have cell phone reception." I took a long break to post my blog and check my email. Cell reception has been especially bad since we crossed into Virginia. Airlock and I would meet back up a few hours later at Patnership Shelter. This particular shelter is located just .1 miles from Mt. Rogers Visitor center. It was a super nice shelter that even had a shower.
At Mt. Rogers Visitors Center there are proper bathrooms, a small gift shop, and a telephone you can use to order pizza. The minimum order was $30 with a $5 delivery fee. We got another hiker, Coed, to order with us. We were super excited by the chance to have pizza and soda. The pizza took 45 minutes to be delivered so we hung out outside of the Visitirs Crnter to wait for it. It was a beautiful warm sunny day, so it wasn't too bad waiting. A lot of other hikers were milling about waiting for a bus to go into town for a resupply.
Once the pizza arrived we quickly dug in, but first we had to take pictures.
After we both ate all but one slice we lounged around a little while longer. I wasn't in a rush to leave. The hike up to that point was pretty rocky and my feet were aching. Knowing we couldn't just sit there all day, we prepared to pack up and hike on. The visitor center had a scale so we weighed ourself with and without our packs on. My pack weighed just under 25 lbs with food and water.
The rest of the afternoon dragged on as well. The pizza, while delicious, was very salty. I quickly drank an entire liter of water, which was a problem because I had two pretty steep climbs ahead of me and no water sources until after the up hills. I was practically running up the last section to get to water. Once I got there I drank 1.5 L and filtered another liter for the walk to the shelter. Airlock had beaten me to camp and was enjoying a snack when I got there. We agreed to hike another 1.4 miles to give us a shorter day tomorrow. By that time I was pretty exhausted, but somehow managed to make good time to the campsite. We went about the business of setting up camp. Once our chores were accomplished we sat down and had appetizers and snacks. After the huge lunch neither of us felt like cooking a proper dinner. It is nice to stealth camp, because it's not crowded and it is very quiet. I hung our bear bags and she set about building her "nest" inside of her tent.
Tomorrow we will hike 15.4 miles, then Cherokee will pick us up to return to his house in Fancy Gap. Sharon is cooking cheeseburgers and we will be able to shower and do laundry. We will be back on the trail Saturday, so it's just a quick stop. I'm hoping for a good nights sleep tonight. So far it's not as cold out as the two previous nights.
"You are capable of more than you know. Choose a goal that seems right for you and strive to be the best, however hard the path. Aim high. Behave honorably. Prepare to be alone at times, and to endure failure. Persist! The world needs all you can give." -E. O. Wilson