A zero day on Damascus! I woke early for a 9:00 doctor’s appointment at the Stone Mountain Clinic in town to check my infected left foot blister and a three-week-old, non-healing deep cut on the face of my right thumb. I showered again and returned to the room to find Tandem preparing to go hang out at Moejoe’s Trailside Coffee House.
After she left I installed my new pack belt, which was difficult to do. The REI Flash 62 pack is actually an external frame pack with a lightweight metal frame, which has ends in the pack belt. So, to swap belts, the frame had to be pried from the top shouldering pack corners and then slid up the body of the pack far enough to release the also strapped and velcroed belt. The reverse actions to add the new belt were as tough.
Once that was done, I went around the corner to my doctor appointment at the clinic. The nurse took vitals, including my weight at 180, down 5.5 pounds since I started hiking. The doctor checked my sores and prescribed steri strips for the thumb and a prescription antibiotic ointment for both. The swelling is already down on the left foot blister.
On the way to the coffee house, I found a virtual and standard Geocache. Tandem was with a few other hikers enjoying coffee and chatting. I ordered a peach, mango, and banana smoothie with whip and a blueberry muffin. After that, Tandem and I did our food purchase at Dollar General. Our food bags are full and ready for at least four more days on the trail.
We used one of our Blue Blaze 10% off a large pizza coupons on a to-go pepperoni pizza. We enjoyed it on the porch at Dave’s Place with our one dollar sodas from Dollar General. While there, I met the pair of thru hikers that are the Philmont musicians I had heard about. We discussed Philmont experiences, favorite camps, and our mutual Philmont friend, Clifford Eade.
After reading some of her book on Ted Turner, Tandem took our laundry to the Hiker Inn for a $5 laundry service charge. My new pack belt has a zipper pocket and an optional strap-on spot for the other side. I shopped both outfitters for the best add-on and chose a good size pouch, which will hold trail snacks, candy, and gum. I installed the pouch and repacked my pack. With the new larger belt, the pack rides well off of my shoulders now.
I also fixed a water flow problem between my water dromedary and my Sawyer Mini water filter with a tube replacement and flushed the filter as well.
Most of the hikers then went to Hey Joe’s for a Mexican dinner and to be entertained by the the musicians from Philmont. They performed for two hours for tips, beer, and food.
After dinner, I took a walk around town while most went to the Damascus Brewery, which is only open Thursday through Saturday evenings. I grabbed some ice cream from the Dollar General before it closed and enjoyed it on the porch at Dave’s Place as the sun set. After that I crashed and slept from 20:30 to 02:00. I woke when Tandem returned and decided to catch up on three days of blog writing.
It is now 05:00 on Friday morning and I am going back to sleep. Checkout from Dave’s Place is at 11:00 and heavy rain is expected early. We’ll do 10 miles today in the afternoon uphill to the next shelter.