Day 44: Knot Maul to Jenkins

Trip Start Mar 15, 2010
Trip End Jul 23, 2010

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Flag of United States  , Virginia
Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Greetings from sunny warm hawa... Uh no I'm still out on the AT. We are huddled in a shelter on another cold rainy day, though I did some mental traveling to Hawaii today. How I could go for a warm sandy beach and palm trees right about now (this may be my first non-food desire!!)

So let me tell you about RAIN. Today was made quite awful by the wet stuff. The biggest dilemma is the rain jacket. Obviously the pack cover and electronics ziplock are automatic, but wearing the rain jacket is a pain. So many variables have to be analyzed in the first seconds as the rain starts coming down.  How hot or cold is the temp? How hard is the rain? Are we going uphill or down? Am I already warmed up or is the day just starting/ending? Windy?

If you decide wrong you will pay. You'll be too hot under the coat and sweat your way to soaking, or you'll be too cold without the jacket and freeze. Usually I elect to not use a coat, if I get cold I just hike faster. That way, just my tshirt gets cold and I can use the dry rainjacket in camp!

Today it rained all day and even snowed up on top of chestnut ridge. The morning featured a 2000 ft climb and then the afternoon was a 10 mile ridgewalk. Trouble with ridgewalking is that it always looks gloriously flat on the map, but it isn't. The ridges also tend to be painfully rocky and on a day like today, very slippery. Also with the low clouds and rain, all the views are obscured.

We walked along the rim of "gods thumb" today but the torturous walking made me mentally rename it "devils toiletbowl". In any case it's a big crater-like valley. We had some glimpses of it but camera was stowed away and I was quite underwhelmed.

So it was fantastic to finally hit the shelter after 19 miles. My feet hurt from the rocks and I am very hungry. Ate some scalloped potatoes and tuna for dinner. The potatoes were a suggestion of my sister... Who is graduating this weekend from college. Of course me being the proud and ever-present older brother... I won't be there. I always feel bad, both my siblings never missed any of my special milestones, but I'm never there for theirs.

Cool comment the other day that someone was going to share my journal with some friends. I hope that everyone knows they are always welcome to invite other people to read this journal. It's publicly available to the entire web, so don't be shy if you have an AT or hiking enthusiast that you think might enjoy.

Moon just rose above the ridgeline opposite the shelter. Spectacular and perhaps foreshadowing a better day to come tomorrow. I've had enough of this rain!

Tumbleweed did a great job cheering up the shelter when she rapped out the lyrics that some other hiker wrote down in the shelter log. We are crazy people!

Forgot to mention yesterday that we are now officially 1/4 done with the whole trail. Amazing to think about. Also scary to think how many miles remain. I keep my goals small though, like how far to the next shelter ( and the next meal!!)

Hope all is well out there. Be glad that when you go to work tomorrow, it doesn't involve hiking 20 miles on rocks. Yes, the AT is starting be a lot like a job.
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