May 1, 1998

5/1/98 War Spur Shelter

19.5 miles (646.4 total)

For as blustery as the wind was during the night, it only started raining this morning. I had a quick breakfast and packed everything as best as I could. Then I took the tent down in the rain, something I’m very good at. It wasn’t raining that hard when I hit the trail. What surprised me most was, when I looked at my watch to see what time I was starting, it said 7:30am - Samson would be horrified. I actually thought my watch was broken. So while I set out, it continued to rain all morning.

Because the next shelter was almost 8 miles away, I was very surprised to see someone standing outside. It was Swiss Miss and Grendel was sitting inside working on his feet. The last time I saw them on the trail was near Plum Orchard Shelter on the infamous "spoon" run. They plan on getting off in Catawba for a wedding and were a little ahead of schedule, so they were taking their time.

Even though the rain stopped when I got to the shelter, I didn’t think it would stop for good. So I decided to head to War Spur Shelter, another 12 miles away. Turns out that was their plan also. So in a partly cloudly day I set off to complete another 20 mile day. The climb up out of the valley wasn’t that bad - but I still miss my poles.

Took a quick break at the Bailey Gap Shelter. A southbounder had consigned the trail designer/maintainer to the bowels of hell for the next 3 miles north - not a good omen. I couldn’t have agreed more with her journal entry. It wasn’t bad up/down wise - it was an infinite number of large, flat rocks that moved and tried in vain to break my ankles or get me to fall on my ass. I was ever so thankful to get past that section. On a positive note - saw my first turkey. They really do fly pretty well for such a large bird.

By the time I reached the shelter, my feet had decided to disown me. I think its more the pounding (and no padding ) that is taking its toll the most. About 2 minutes after I arrived, the skies finally let loose. Grendel and Swiss Miss arrived about 30 minutes later. Two minutes after they got here, the hail started, pea-sized. Looked great all over the picnic table. It was nice to spend some time with new thru-hikers. Grendel is headed for medical school and Swiss Miss is headed for law school, both in Boston. During the conversation, it turns out Grendel did a NOLS semester course in Chile in ‘95. So all night we swapped stories, even talked about medicine also. It’s too bad they are getting off in Catawba for 2 weeks. might not see them for awhile. Believe it or not, it didn’t rain all night.