Hurricane Mountain Shelter to Stealth Spot
Miles Hiked: 26.4
AT Milage: 541.4
This morning I got out of camp right before 7am. I left before Crunchy and Emma because I needed to filter water. As soon as I left I started hiking as fast as I could so I could get to the next shelter and take a long break before they caught up. My feet are hurting really bad so the less time I spend on them the better I think they will feel. Also whenever I start my day my legs and feet feel the best so I just want to get in as many miles as I can before they start hurting. As I crossed a road a section hiker got on the trail behind me and we started talking so it made the time go by faster for me and helped to keep my focus off my foot pain. I got to the next shelter at 10am. I couldn’t believe how fast I hiked but my feet were really hurting and I was motivated. Emma ended up getting to the shelter 20 minutes after me and Crunchy never showed up. I left the shelter hiking with Emma and we found Crunchy filtering water about 2 miles later. He told us he accidentally walked an extra mile down the wrong trail before we turned around and walked another mile back to the AT. This is the second day he went the wrong way! I would be so frustrated.
Emma stopped to filter water with Crunchy and I just kept hiking so I could get to the next shelter fast and sit down. I stared thinking “eat, sleep, hike, repeat” one word for each step. It made the time and uphill hike go by faster. Emma and Crunchy caught up to me faster than I thought they would. I explained how I felt like I was trying to hard to hike fast but they always caught me. They said that hiking is just so much easier when you are talking to another person and I agree. A little bit later we ran into Flamingo and Flip who I hadn’t seen since I got off trail for the wedding. I was shocked we caught up so fast! It was so good to see them again, I hope I get to camp with them soon!
We stopped for lunch at Partnership shelter at 2:40pm. We had hiked 19 miles with a one hour break so fast! Partnership Shelter was super nice. It was a double decker and looked brand new. It should be able to fit more than 10 people. We ate lunch on the grass in front of it since there was a crowd of people. At the shelter I saw Woodstock who I hadn’t seen since before the smokies! I was shocked to see him again. He told me he ended up skipping a whole section between standing bear farm and Damascus (like 200 miles?) before trail days. Emma also recognized a character we met back in March named Preach. I still don’t believe it was him but she said she would never forget his face. I can’t believe he’s been on trail this long and is only at mile 530 something.
After Partnership Shelter we walked 0.2 more miles to the Mount Rogers visitor center. It was really exciting to use a real toilet for the first time in a while. We also got cold drinks from a vending machine and I bought a snickers bar. We hiked 7 more miles to the next shelter and the rocks were killing my feet again. It was our longest day yet! At the shelter there were so many people and no room for tents. The shelter probably only slept 6 people. We painfully decided to hike on a tiny bit more to a stealth campsite. It was nice to have a campsite with just the three of us. I went to bed quickly and massaged my feet. Tomorrow we are all excited to get more food at a gas station in the morning because we are all running out.