Great morning. I woke up so refreshed and resting to go. We had another incredible breakfast at Woods Hole Hostel. It was bittersweet leaving this restful and peaceful place but the trail was calling. Most of the hikers that I’ve been around were also leaving. Neville, our Host, was the icing on the cake. She truly is a gift from God and an incredible light on the trail. I will always have a special place in my heart for this woman!
Our Shuttle Driver Don arrived early and we were off to Pearisburg, the same place I slackpacked from yesterday. All miles accounted for. Don gave us a road map for todays hike. Super hot and humid, ask all sobo hikers about water sources and plan to carry. We exited and the first mile was fairly flat, besides the concrete stairs that went underneath the roadway. We had a bit of a road walk and then back to the green tunnel.
Don’s assessment of the trail was correct. It was the hottest day on trail to date. Close to 90 with humidity that I am unable to calculate. But what I can tell you is I could not keep the sweat out of my eyes, even with my bandana on my forehead. It was miserable to say the least. I had a much harder time than Sid. He was a bit ahead of me and stopped to rest upon a tree, literally!
I walked around the tree, that Sid was lying on and sat on the low lying branch. We stayed there for sometime trying to figure out what we were going to do. With our later start, we were smack dab in the furnace. We decided to get water, head to the Rice Field Shelter and decide what to do.
We made it to the “reliable spring” but it was trickling. I said out loud, this is our water source? Pink Panther overheard me and she yelled to to keep coming another 100 feet up trail. Thank goodness she was there. There the spring was behind a huge Boulder with a pipe extending and flowing wonderfully icy cold water. Thank you Lord for placing Springs where they are so desperately needed.
Sid and I filled up every bottle and platypus container that we had. I carried my 1-1/2 liters and Sid carried a gallon of precious water. He put his poles away, put one platypus in his mesh pocket and carried the other two in his free hands, along with 2-one liter bottles. Bless his heart as my pack was loaded with a five day supply of food. ￼
We made it to the shelter and there were three others there at 2pm. No one was moving! It was evident that I wasn’t the only one effected by the temperature. Sid and I decided this was going to be home for the evening and we would wake up early in the morning and head out at daybreak.
This was a wake-up call for me regarding weather issues and cooling options. I’m thinking I’ll have to be more diligent about getting up and moving much earlier in the morning. Blue and I had this squared away. But Sid understandably, is not onboard with early wake-up’s and hitting the trail at the crack of dawn. Honestly, he has a short time on the trail and I am trying to make this as enjoyable as possible. However, I still need to get some miles done, and that’s not really up to Sid! I can always make them up once he is on his way home with Grandpa. Then I will kick this hike into high gear.
For now, I’ve got to figure out how does one sleep when it’s this hot & humid, and there’s no rain, no wind and no chance of cooler temperatures in the near or distant future? I haven’t pulled out my sleeping bag or long Johns or anything that I’ve used of past. I thank the Lord for wet wipes to clean my sticky filthy body off, and hope that does the trick till early morning.
Today was the hardest day for me on trail to date. I trust that my sweet Jesus will give me much needed guidance and assurance along the way. Waking up early to see the sunrise is always an added bonus. Getting in as many miles as possible before noon will be a huge benefit to keeping up miles with smiles! And leaning on the Lord for the rest, is what I do best.
“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.”
James 1:5-6 NIV