April 24, 2018

Destination: Bobblets Gap Shelter Today's Miles: 13.50

Start Location: Fullhardt Knob Shelter Trip Miles: 747.70

Spring is finally coming to VA!
As expected, we woke up to rain. I was in no hurry, so while Wallace, Bama Dog, and Zia headed out, I hung back and made coffee and breakfast with Tennessee.

When I left the shelter, Tennessee was contemplating whether he wanted to hike or just hang in the shelter and stay out of the rain. The morning was definitely off to a soggy start! 

I made the decision to wear as few clothes as possible under my rain gear. When it really rains, rain gear quickly gets saturated. It does not really keep me dry. It basically keeps me drier than if I didn’t have it, but still wet. It does, however, help keep me warm. I decided to wear my t shirt but go commando under my rain pants.  No sense in even getting my underwear wet really! The rain picked up and I had to move at a quick pace to stay warm. My phone was in my dry bag in my pack since it was so wet, so I didn’t really stop to take pictures today, although honestly there wasn’t much that I probably would have photographed as the weather limited the views. Other than a few flooded creek crossings that were tricky (I completely submerged my right foot in one), the hiking and climbs today were relatively easy. It was a nice vacation for my feet! The trail crisscrossed with the Blue Ridge Parkway at a couple of points where cars could turn off of the highway to see views. No views today but grey, although at one point the clouds and fog shifted just enough for me to get a hint of a view. The turnoffs, however, has trash cans! That was exciting and I dumped all of my trash at the first one. 

My day went quickly because I was quite keen to get out of the rain. I got to Bobblets Shelter and was surprised no one else was there. That meant that Zia, Bama and Wallace were pushing to the next shelter for a 19 mile day. For me, it was quittin’ time and time to get dry! I stripped off my wet clothes and got changed, set up my pad and bag, and made a cup of tea. This shelter is really nice - good water source close by and a really big enclosed privy. 

After a bit, Tarzan and Happy Feet showed up and we chatted while they debated whether to stay or push on. They stayed given how wet it was and the fact that tomorrow’s forecast is also for rain. Another guy I hadn’t met before, Shark Bait, came and stayed as well. Then, while I was eating dinner, Nightmare, Finger Food, and Diablo rolled in! I hadn’t seen them since the Smokies. They were like a proper tramily now! It was good to see them and we caught up before it got dark. As we were eating dinner, Happy Feet spotted a deer feeding just up the path to the shelter. We watched it eat its dinner too!

I was grateful that it didn’t completely pour buckets all day today and that the rain was more on the gentle side after the first part of the morning. Also, at least it wasn’t snow! I was really grateful to have an earlier day and just enjoy talking with some hikers and getting to know them a bit. Tomorrow is supposed to be another wet one, and that’s ok.

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