Mile 2361.6-2390.6 (29.0)
It was quiet when I woke up. No rain! I sat up and ate bars in my tent, still wrapped in my sleeping bag, then slowly packed up. It was dark and foggy out and felt like early morning when I started hiking at 6:45am.
Th trail climbed. I passed Nobody’s Friend, who I camped with last night, as I charged up the steep switchbacks. I saw huckleberries lining the trail and ate handfuls. Fresh food! It was a bright spot in a cool and gray morning.
At the ridge, I realized the white noise I’ve been hearing is the highway below. How awful to hear the hum of cars so far in the distance. I guess the bad weather keeps the birds from chirping. I would rather hear the cold wind, the rush of streams, even the patter of rain.
Caffeine and berries kept me feeling good all morning. My legs felt pretty good and my foot had recovered from yesterday’s misery. There was only ever the lightest of drizzles. I was warm enough to take off my jacket and warm shirt.
Toward midday I saw patches of blue sky. I hurried to keep up with them, to feel sun on my skin. It was fleeting, but I managed two bright minutes of sun. Dark clouds rolled through and stole it. I kept hiking.
The trail was steep with lots of elevation change. At times it reminded me of the AT. Am I back in Maine in late June, just out of college and pack heavy with books? Am I in Virginia in a rainstorm, Pat and I deciding whether or not to head to town to dry off? My knees were taking a pounding, but my body remembered what to do. Keep hiking. Down the wicked descents, up the muddy climbs, past the crystal clear lakes.
A few miles from town, the roar of traffic got louder and I could see cars in the distance. The huckleberries and blueberries kept me entertained. The rain picked up slightly, so I hustled to get to shelter. I passed a pretty meadow and a small shining lake. Then I was spit out onto a ski slope with roads and buildings below.
I made my way to the Aardvark and am I ever glad I did. I ate tasty salmon dinner and met Toast, who hiked last year, and her partner. When I went to pay for my dinner, I found out they had already covered it. And Toast gave me new socks! It was the most magical stop. Dan, the owner, was more than kind and made me feel more than welcome. What a great place.