I actually got some real sleep last night and woke to the other group packing up. Apparently they had heard and seen a group of deer rooting around and snorting near the campsite but I slept right through it. Hopefully that means my body is getting more used to being out here and is relaxing! I got moving as well and headed out on my own.
The trail continued on its general downhill trajectory and while cold, it remained sunny for most of the morning. My knee and ankles began aching again and hiking once again became a chore. Clouds moved in and began filling the filling the valley adjacent to the ridgeline I was walking along, obscuring my view while darker clouds could be seen a bit farther off.
I came upon a decent-sized footbridge, the first along the entire trail so far. It carried hikers across a swiftly flowing creek, where the banks were beautifully sandy and shaded by lovely trees. It would have been a perfect place to rest and refill my water if it wasn’t so cold and windy with some kind of bad weather rolling in.
I crossed the bridge and took a short side trail to a tiny pavillion called Splinter’s cabin. This was not an enclosed structure as the name suggests, but rather a 3-foot stone wall surrounding a single picnic table covered by a roof. There were trash cans, privies, and the best thing: other hikers. Logi, Future Problems and the rest of their group was here already, looking cold and miserable and planning to stay in the shelter until the weather passed. Although I felt bad finishing my day in the early afternoon after not even 12 miles, I was also glad to rest my joints and avoid the weather while also having the opportunity to get to know these hikers better.
We found that we had cell signal so we ordered pizza which took FOREVER to arrive. Two hikers from their group had to walk half a mile in the quickly-degrading weather to get to the trailhead for the delivery and then carry it back to the rest of us. We waited impatiently, shivering, as more hikers showed up. I met Morgan (“Splash”) from Texas and we both decided that setting our tents up outside of the cement-floored shelter would likely be warmest, and just as we finished setting up the rain started.
Soon the hikers returned with pizza and everyone dug in. I pulled the cheese off of my breadsticks and gave it to Splash who happily devoured it. No one really knew what to do with themselves for the rest of the afternoon while it rained a cold rain and more miserable hikers drifted in, some deciding to stay while others continued on.
Finally everyone gave up trying to be social and retired to their tents or their little corners in the shelter. In less than 30 minutes, four people tripped over one of the guylines on my tent, causing “Papaya” to suggest “Tripwire” as my trail name. I’ve had lots of suggestions but nothing fits, including this although it sounds like a cool name.
Shivering inside my tent while it poured cold rain was miserable. I really am getting worn down by this crazy weather and by being on my own.
Hiked with: no one
Camped with: Logi, Kim, Future Problems, Monkey, Fortune Cookie, Splash, Gryllz, Papaya, Dad Jokes, lots of others