Day 18 on the Appalachian Trail

Today's themes were fog and mud. Rain fell off and on last night. If it had fallen harder, it might have drowned out the chainsaw-like snoring of Dude. One of the drawbacks of sleeping in the shelters is noise of one sort or another. When I awoke, visibility was about 50 feet through thick fog or probably a low-hanging cloud. After my oatmeal breakfast I set forth in wet shoes, squishing along through mud and puddles of water. The mud offered numerous opportunities to slip and fall, but I managed not to fall. The air felt damp and cold. After 7 miles I stopped at Jenny Cabin shelter for a quick snack and water break. While I ate, my fingers froze. I gained elevation for two miles to Big Butt Mountain (who was the inspiration for that name?) and stopped a mile later for lunch with through hiker Dan. The weather had improved to the point that my fingers could function. Then five miles of downhill always vigilant for patches of mud (see photo) to Devils Fork Gap and a paved highway. A short up and down to another road led to a 1,600-foot climb to Lick Rock. Along the way, the clouds parted and the sun shone, brightening my spirits. The climb didn't cause me much distress. Good thing my recent zero day helped revive my legs. Downhill from Lick Rock, I found a trail-side camp site in the woods. The skies stayed clear while I set up camp and cooked dinner. Hooray! Today's miles - 20.2. Total miles- 313.5.

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