May 24, 1998

5/24/98 Rod Hollow Shelter

13.4 miles (968.3 total)

For some reason I was up early. I had eaten and started packing before Ghandi, Smiley and Piper had even woke up. I guess I just wanted to be on the trail before the scout troop.

More rain this morning. While yesterday was so peaceful walking through the forest, today was oppressive because of the overcast skies and the thick brush we had to go through. But the trail was pretty easy, lots of twists and turns, and few rocks. Got to Dick’s Dome shelter, a geodesic dome, by 10am. I was expecting a nice structure but this one, while novel, was poorly designed. Took off with the idea of stopping by the Blue Ridge Restaurant at the 10 mile mark around lunch time.

The lush forest with my ever present trail ahead

Passed hoards of weekend hikers. Here we’ve had the trail all to ourselves for three months, and now we’re being overcrowded with day hikers and weekenders. Once I got to US-60, I soon got discouraged trying to hitch. About when I was to give up, a couple coming back from church gave me a lift. They were surprised I only needed to go a mile. Had a grilled cheese and fries from a waitress that had been having a bad morning but now I was her only customer.

Sometimes you hopped rock to rock,
trying not to twist an ankle

Waited for the others to arrive but left when it got late. Again, I tried hitching for 10 minutes and gave up. As I walked back to the trail, I stuck my hand out anyway and just like before, I was picked up in minutes. The sun came out on a few very rare occasions but no more rain.

Given our luck with weekenders so far, you can imagine my surprise to see only Smiley and Piper at the shelter. Besides Ghandi and myself, Messenger and Never Quit showed up, with Longstride coming in last. So much to our delight, the shelter is full of only thruhikers. Gave Never Quit a massage because he’d had a nasty fall several days ago and his back was full of knots. Now we’re all getting ready for bed as the thunderstorm finally arrives. It’s off to the Blackburn AT Center, with its free hostel tomorrow. Hope the hike is better than the profile shows, 17 miles with a lot of ups and downs.