Oh yes, it is that time of mid-spring....RAIN. Well, I guess you can't thru hike the AT without knowing the feeling of waking up in the morning and putting on wet socks, shorts, shirts, pack, everything...days in row. That is how I have been trying to look at it at least. But let's start from the beginning...
We left off at the amazing Wood's Hole Hostel where it rained a bit the first day and then a bit more during our zero. The day we left, last Thursday, was wet in the afternoon, but we were luckily inside at a Chinese AYCE buffet in Pearisburg, VA on a quick resupply. The next day started off SUPER humid in the early hours, so we knew it would be a scorcher that day with T-storms very likely in the afternoon. We walked a gorgeous, lush ridgeline all day where we saw 2 snakes, a decently large turtle, and OUR FIRST BEARS! A momma and her 2 tiny little cubs. As we were walking we heard the cubs make a noise as we spooked them so we turned to look as they scampered up a tree. Momma bear hung back on the ground and checked us out until we left. They were a little far away to get pictures, but I think Jetpack tried to take some. T-clouds rolled in later in the day and we got stuck in some serious downpours...raining buckets style. I have learned that it is better to not bother with any rain gear except my pack cover, because I would rather be soaked with rain than soaked with sweat under a rain jacket...thus, I took the free shower in stride and continued on my way to "The Captains".
The Captains is a man's house on the other side of a creek from the train. He constructed a great zipline with a seat for hikers to ride over. We rode the zip over and camped out on his screen porch as a CRAZY t-storm blasted on through the night. The next morning we woke up, still raining, and went back down to the creek...serious flooding and swelling. I hopped on the zipline to cross back only to get stuck in the middle, with my butt underwater!!!! I screamed to Jetpack to reel me back in....a pretty hilarious site, I wish we had a cameraman. Hiked in rain off and on throughout the day with another downpour later in the afternoon.
Next day started with rain, but we waited it out and didn't get wet until an hour or so into our hike. Once it cleared, the trail opened up into one of the most beautiful pastures that we have seen so far: rolling hills, cows, hay bales, farm houses, mountains in the background, etc. Got to a shelter for our afternoon snack as it started to downpour yet again. Waited it out and stayed dry the rest of the day. Next day - McAfee Knob, the most photographed part of the trail aside from Katahdin. This place had the most incredible views of the valley with a really cool rock outcropping on which people take daring pictures. Unfortunately it started to rain a minute after I got out on the rock, so my part of the shoot got cut short, but we got some seriously sweet shots. Yesterday we finally got into Daleville, VA (mile 720ish) and stayed in a Howard Johnson Express Hotel, out first hotel stay since Hot Springs, NC - almost 4 weeks ago. Laundry and a shower has never been so necessary, not even after our 10 day stint from Damascus to Wood's Hole. If you are curious as to what a thru hiker who has been out in the rain for days on end smells like, consider this experiment:
Pick out a set of clothing to wear and jump in your pool or lake, shoes and all. Then go work out as long as you can, but make sure you work up a really good sweat. When you are done, take off your clothes and leave them in a pile in your basement or outside. Repeat this procedure the next day with the same clothes, maybe even for a third day. On the last day, leave your wet, sweaty clothes under your dog and let him/her sleep on them over night. Give them a smell in the morning and your lovely attire may smell like ours did. Awesome, right? Right.
So I know what you all want, pictures. I lost my camera cable in Hiawassee, GA about a week into the trip so I can't get them on here, oops. When Jetpack's mom comes to hike with us next Monday-Friday, we will be hitting up a Wal*Mart at the end of the trip and I will get a new cable. We are also going to have our computers to just hang out in a hotel room and upload EVERYTHING. So give us another week and a half and you will have all of our pictures! Hooray! So I guess that's all for now folks! Thanks for following and pray for a little bit less rain down here!