May 8, 1998

5/8/98 Corneelius Creek Shelter

17.2 miles (741.6 total)

Found myself going to sleep by 8pm. This week, my shelter mates had all been surprised by my lack of snoring. Apparently I made up for it last night - and poor Smiley had to sleep next to me. I guess because we got so much sleep, everyone was up and ready to go by 8am. It had rained all night with periods of lightning and looked like it might continue.

Believe it or not, the sun did come out, at least for us. Down in the valleys, they were all blanketed by clouds. Got some good pictures of Sharp Top and Flat Top Mountains off in the Peaks of Otter area. Saw a few other good "mountain peaks above the clouds" but the leafing trees are getting in the way.

Ghandi and I hiked most of the morning together and talked. First we came upon BA Disciple, a Jahova Witness who leaves leaflet’s in the shelters. But he gave us coffee out of his beautiful VW van. At Cove Mountain shelter, some ‘angel’ left Life Savers and Jolly Rancher candies.

A break from the rain at Cove Mountain Shelter

At the Jennings Creek bridge we decided to break for lunch. A forest ranger stopped and asked us questions about ‘Peggy’. As we ate lunch, thunderstorm clouds moved in quick. Ghandi decided to make a run for the shelter 3 ½ miles away. We didn’t get 50 yards up the trail when it started raining. We made a mad dash back to the creek and waited out most of the storm under the bridge. That’s why everyone was surprised when I came hiking up after them. Just as fast as the storm moved in, it went away.

We all had to vote Bryant Ridge shelter as best of the trail so far. What a great shelter, it seemed to take the best ideas from all the other shelters and put them all into one package. Everyone decided to stay but I moved on because I need to get to Buena Vista before my food runs out, and 11.5 miles just seems too short a day.

Veto loves the new privy

But I had second, third and fourth thoughts as I climbed up out of the valley. If I’d known Floyd Mountain was going to be 4 miles up, I’d have stayed at the last shelter with everyone else. Plus the rain just upped the humidity to 100% and there seemed to be thousands of large mosquito-like bugs flying in my footsteps. A pair of older southbounders warned me about a timber rattlesnake that was reluctant to get off the trail. Never did see it but I sure looked real hard, just in case.

Got to the shelter just before 6 and it looks like I’ll be the only one here for the night. This will be my first shelter all to myself since I started 9 ½ weeks ago. Been looking at the map and I might have to tent earlier than my planned 17 miles if I do a couple of the side trails - like - Apple Orchard Falls and the Devils Marble Yard. I miss my friends tonight but I must hike my own hike.