Friday, October 2, 2015

Day 85: Trail Mail

May 31: By morning, the rain had stopped but ugly clouds lingered overhead for most of the day. My ankle still hurt like crazy and was swollen as ever, but I managed to slip my foot into it with a bit of effort.

 

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I caught up with Heavyweight and Superman just as they were about to leave camp for the morning. I hadn’t realized that they were back camping on the trail since they left with Superman’s parents. I knew they had planned to take a zero day then slackpack yesterday (just like I did for part of the day), but I hadn’t realized that they were already back on the trail and no longer slackpacking.

 

Superman had a new gadget in his pack: a small guitar. He loves playing the guitar and has been missing it, so he had his parents bring him one to carry on the trail. The top of it was covered with a blue bag to protect it from any rain during the day, but that would be fun around the shelter at night! He was already talking about getting rid of it, though. He had swapped out his cold-weather clothes for warm-weather clothes which were smaller and lighter, but now he was cold and wanted some of his cold-weather clothes back and didn’t want the weight of both that and the guitar. Heavyweight and I both encouraged him to keep the guitar, but admittedly, it was for our own selfish purposes. =)

 

With my bum ankle, they quickly moved ahead of me and, I assumed, it was pretty unlikely I’d see them again today. They were planning to hike further than I was and I didn’t expect to catch up. I wasn’t on the trail for 10 minutes before I saw a blue, plastic bag laying on the trail, though. I hadn’t taken a good look at the bag over Superman’s guitar, but it could have been the same shade of blue. Most suspicious, though, was that the bag was completely clean and dry. That bag could not have been sitting here all night—I was convinced it slipped off of Superman’s guitar without him knowing it.

 

I picked it up, not sure how I’d be able to catch up with him to return the bag. About an hour later, though, I stopped for a break when another hiker named Jig came up on me like a bullet. That man was hiking fast! And it occurred to me—he might even catch up with Superman and Heavyweight. I gave him the blue bag asking if he could give it to either of them when he caught up with them. It was Superman’s, I was pretty sure, but Heavyweight would be nearby and can give it to Superman if he ran into Heavyweight first.

 

“How will I recognize Superman when I see him?” Jig asked me.

 

I smirked. “Oh, you’ll know him when you see him. He’ll have a giant Superman logo on his chest.”

 

Jig continued on, and I eventually got up and continued hobbling along.

 

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I was rather surprised when I stopped at Rausch Gap Shelter to see Heavyweight and Superman there. I caught up with them! They really weren’t moving fast today at all! =) Superman had his blue bag back over the guitar, better secured this time around. Trail mail in action! Superman hadn’t realized it had come off until long after he lost it when I stumbled onto it. I gave it to Jigs, who gave it to Heavyweight, who gave it to Superman who got it back just a few hours after he lost it. We’re more efficient than a post office! =)

 

They eventually left, but I lingered longer resting my ankle and eating snacks. Two other women showed up, a day hiker and a runner. The day hiker was Bird Woman who had sectioned hiked the entire Appalachian Trail and had completed the Pennsylvania section three times. The runner introduced herself as Proud Foot’s girlfriend and said they had set up some trail magic further up the trail. Sweet! I hadn’t seen Proud Foot since Virginia and he’d been about a week ahead of me based on his register entries, but I knew he was from Pennsylvania and had planned to take a week off when he got near home. He had finished the trail to Delaware Water Gap and was now off the trail for the week—except to hang out at a trailhead with his girlfriend to pass out trail magic. Awesome! =) Except that his girlfriend ditched him (temporarily) to go for a trail run.

 

I eventually picked myself up and mosied along the trail again. A few miles later, I arrived at the trailhead where Proud Foot and friends were set up. Heavyweight and Superman were there as well, and I joked about how I keep catching up with them despite my bum ankle. Proud Foot looked strange in “civilian” clothes, but it was great catching up with him. And I spent the next hour or two just chatting away with everyone. Heavyweight and Superman left a short time after my arrival to get some more miles in. I lingered, though. And lingered… I drank cold drinks, and ate lots of food. It was a good stop. *nodding*

 

Late in the afternoon, they started packing up the trail magic goodies. I told them that I wasn’t aware of any other hikers behind me who might still show up. The closest hikers I knew of that were behind me would have camped at the Peters Mountain Shelter, and I doubted most of them would have hiked this far because those at the shelter like Hawkeye didn’t carry a tent or a tarp and would be dependent on a shelter to stay out of the rain overnight.

 

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I backtracked a short ways on the trail to a creek to fill up with water when I discovered Scribbles and Turbo had just arrived there. They were planning to set up their tents near the creek for the night, but I told them to keep going—there was trail magic just ahead on the trail but they had better hurry because it was being taken down as we spoke! They dashed off with barely a goodbye to catch the trail magic.

 

I filled up with water and walked back, and Scribbles and Turbo were feasting on the trail magic. Good thing I walked back to get some water. They’d have set up camp barely a two-minute walk away from some awesome trail magic and never even known about it!

 

I continued hobbling along wanting to get further down the trail. It wound its way over some small hills, crossed a bridge, then headed up a steep mountain. As I started climbing the mountain, I heard thunder in the distance. I really didn’t want to stop just yet, but I knew rain was imminent and decided to stop early at 6:00. I set up my tarp on the side of the trail at a small clearing, ducked under it and make myself comfortable. By 6:30, buckets of rain were falling and the thunder was practically right on top of me. BOOM! BOOM! It was loud enough to shake the nearby trees. I was really happy I decided to stop when I did. My tarp might be wet, but all of my other gear and safe and dry under it before any rain had started. YES!

 

My ankle… my ankle still hurt like hell and I was fortunate that most of the day’s hiking was relatively flat and easy. Despite the easiness of the terrain, though, I was still pretty happy with myself for having completed just over 18 miles with my bum ankle. When I started in the morning, I figured I’d be lucky to finish 15 miles, so to do 18 and still set up camp before the rain hit—I felt good about that.

 

I was surprised when I took off my sock, however, and saw what appeared to be a good-sized bruise on my ankle. That wasn’t there before! I’m not sure if it was something that slowly formed during the day from walking too much, or if the ankle brace I used was a contributing cause. I’m still not sure, but the ankle certainly didn’t look or feel any better than it did the day before.

 

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My poor ankle, now with ugly bruises!

1 comment:

Crystal R said...

Wow, i can't imagine walking so far with an ankle hurt that bad.. determination! =)