Today did not start as planned. Tandem had been sick overnight and relocated herself outside of the shelter and more convenient to the privy without waking the others. I packed my gear and gave her most of my remaining water in her Gatorade bottle. She didn’t want to eat anything, so while I ate breakfast I let her rest. All of the other hikers, including Mio, left the shelter northbound. Mio said that he had thrown up once overnight as well. After everyone had departed, including another hiker that dropped in to make his breakfast, Tandem got up and packed.
We left the shelter around 8:30, and Tandem led. The first eight miles were flat for the most part, and we covered them in about five hours, taking breaks as needed. We stopped for water at 1.5 miles and Tandem drank a Carnation Breakfast. On another break, she ate granola bars. After those eight miles, we stopped and I had lunch while Tandem napped in the shade.
At this point we were five miles from the next shelter and water source. The next 2.5 miles were a climb, including one tough incline. Tandem was a champ at the climbs. Then we descended 2.5 miles to the Pine Swamp Branch shelter to find only Mio there. He was packing up to continue to either The Captain’s place, 1.2 miles north, or Bailey Gap shelter, uphill another 2.7 miles.
After he left we decided to leave that lonely shelter and go to The Captain’s. When we arrived at 18:00, we had to get across a river via a zip line. I hooked my pack to the carabiner and sat on the seat. Unfortunately, I failed to hold on and fell in the water. My pack was brought across while I reloaded and held on that time.
After getting Tandem across, I wrung out my poly shirt and cotton socks to hang on the clothes line. I wore my poly shorts, which dried while we had dinner, and set up our sleeping quarters on the lawn. The Captain’s dogs have electric fence collars that prevent them from leaving the lawn about halfway down from the house, so tents set up outside of that area are safe from the dogs.
I left my socks drying on the line and my boots drying under my tent vestibule. The boots should dry out while hiking tomorrow. They have been wet inside once before, sometime recently.
The Captain has a great place with free wifi and knock off sodas in the back porch fridge. There are a few plugs to charge our batteries and phones on, so we shared power with the other six hikers there. I am writing this blog entry alone on the back porch at 22:00 while charging my phone and drinking sodas. Tandem turned in at 20:00 to get a good night’s sleep. I hope she feels better in the morning.
We did 13.7 miles today, which is great considering Tandem’s illness and my left shin splint. The blister on my left foot has stopped hurting as much, and the swelling is down. I have cut off the top 1/4 inch of my boot insole below the blister, and it has been helped by the antibiotics, shower at the hostel, and recent flatter terrains.
Tomorrow, once we climb up the 1700 feet from The Captain’s, it will stay flat around 4000 feet for a bit until it drops 2000 feet to VA 632. We’ll probably stay at the campsite there across Johns Creek at 12.4 miles from here.