Thursday, April 7, 2011

March 29

The only word to describe today is "perfect." We woke up this morning at Wayah Bald Shelter to find ourselves above the fog and drenched in sunlight. The valley below was covered in fog and looked like a huge lake. Awesome. I hiked with Phil and AJ down to Burningtown Gap where we got trail magic! Grits, a former AT hiker himself, was cooking eggs and sausage for breakfast. We got there around 10:30 and he said to stick around for awhile because he was planning to grill burgers for lunch. So stick around we did. Lots of other people, Shepherd, Pappy, Memphis, Turtle Feet, Morphine, Rebecca, and others showed up as well and we all crowded around the fire and ate cheeseburgers in the sunshine. We still had about 6 miles to go but decided to take it easy and had a nice stroll up to Wesser Bald...incredible 360 degree views! We then went to the next shelter where we intended to spend the night, but after a short break the group decided to push an extra 5 miles to A. Rufus Morgan Shelter. I'm glad we did because it is supposed to rain tonight and tomorrow and the downhill was rough enough as it was; wet and slippery rocks and roots would have made for some slow going. The extra miles made for a 15.5 mile day...not too bad! The weather was sunny, cool, and breezy. Again, perfect. The shelter is crowded and I'm tenting...this will be the true test of my seam-sealing job! I admit I'm a little nervous...we'll see how it goes. Tomorrow we will descend even farther into the Nantahala Outdoor Center and will have our biggest climb yet: approximately 3000 feet over seven miles. Oh yeah, and in the rain...

UPDATE: It's 2:30 in the morning and it's storming like crazy. The thunder, lightning, and driving rain has woken me up so I'm sitting here and thinking to myself, "Okay, I hear dripping..." Better assess the situation. I turn on my headlamp and beam it around to find all of the seams for the internal pockets coated with water and resultingly (word?) dripping water down the clips onto the floor. The footbox of my sleeping bag is also a bit damp from touching the wall of the tent as I've been sliding downhill all night. I didn't mention this earlier but I brought my pack inside with me for the first time so I'm scrunched up against the wall anyway. Could be worse, right? I'm not drenched and the drops are all running toward the downhill corner anyway. :) I'm hoping the NOC has some silicone sealer...
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