May 3, 1998

5/3/98 Pickle Branch Shelter

9.9 miles (674.2 total)

Today is Chris’s (my brother) birthday and I’ve been on the trail 2 full months. I can begin to see the nature of the Virginia blues- the novelty of the trail is wearing off - plus I miss my family and friends. I just need to keep focused. Doing things like learning the penny whistle and a little Spanish will help break up the days. Plus if I could just draw something, at least once a day!

Had a pretty good morning, was on the trail by 7:30 again without waking the couples. Actually, there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. Thought I might catch Veto and the gang but didn’t see them all morning. Finally got to Pickle Branch Shelter at noon, after a long 1/2 mile approach trail.

We were overflowing with hikers at the shelter
Beautiful spot but a long way off the trail

Did everything today - journal and penny whistle - then it started raining. And it rained a lot. I reluctantly decided to spend the night here even though it was less than 10 miles. I ate lunch and tried to take a nap. I was kind of bored. As it continued to rain, more people showed up - Moondaddie, Ghandi, Swiss Miss and Grendel, Afterburner and Gravy and Billygoat. Poor Billygoat was walking bowlegged because of a little chafing problem with "the boys". Surprised me when I couldn’t even eat half of my spaghetti. I just wasn’t hungry. It cleared up somewhat after dinner but clouded up by evening.