Thursday, May 19 - Day 56 - Mile 572.6 - Jenkins Shelter
Turned out we had about 30 hikers in and around the shelter last night. They were coming in even after dark. One hiker slept right on the ground behind the shelter. It's amazing how many are out here, though we rarely see any hikers going our way on the trail as we hike.
This is the end of my 8th week so my trail legs must be about as good as they're going to get.
Today was the 5th day in a row of cold, wet, fog and muddy trails. Everyone hopes for a sunny day soon to dry out. Despite the weather we're making good progress. Not many views since the fog is so thick.
Today we hiked 19 miles which mostly seemed to be up. The terrain was very rocky & slippery. Toward the end of the hike I ran out of water and took a side trail that was marked. Unfortunately the trail went down steeply for at least 3/4 miles then through a farm fence and finally down a muddy embankment. By the time I got back up I had killed about 45 minutes and was beat. While he was waiting for me Buffalo Bobby noted someone had scratched on the sign that it was a bad choice. (The actual language was much more colorful) Of course just a couple of miles down the trail there was plenty of water flowing right over the trail. Won't make that mistake again.
We're tenting tonight since the shelter is full. We have plenty of good company including thru hikers and section hikers. It's always fun to hear stories about trail names and why they're out here. Goldie made a big fire tonight for us all.
The privy at this shelter is one for the book. It's just an exposed toilet on a raised platform. No walls. Either the budget was very tight or the thinking was that there couldn't possibly be any shred of modesty left for hikers who got this far. (I'm a little concerned since this is my home State).
Tomorrow we hope to visit Bland, VA to get What is reported to be the best milkshake on the trail. We can use some cleaning up too. My new hiking shorts have taken quite a beating with the falls this week.
The best to all,
the crowd at Jenkins shelter