Day 33 on the Appalachian Trail

Last night rain found its way into my tent. I awoke in the night feeling cold. My sleeping bag was damp without much of its loft. I pulled on my long john bottoms and my down jacket and managed to stay warm through the night. I lay awake wondering if I would need to walk back a mile to US Highway 52, hitch into Bland, and dry out my sleeping bag. Or would I be able hike 26 miles to the Wapiti shelter?  When morning finally arrived, I decided to keep going. I packed up, ate my oatmeal, and hit the trail at 6:30. After a 600-foot climb, I reached the turnoff to a shelter where I should have stayed last night. Happily, the trail didn't gain or lose elevation for 8 miles. I skipped for lunch at the Jenny Knob shelter for lunch, thinking that I would 't have another to eat out of the predicted thunderstorm. After another 600-foot climb, the AT descended on a muddy trail toward a paved road. I met Orange Shirt and hiked with him for the rest of the day. From the road, the trail gained elevation for a bit then followed a stream for 8 miles with lots of mud. Finally, Orange Shirt and I arrived at the Wapiti shelter. I got a spot in the shelter. As soon as I started cooking dinner, rain started falling. Was I grateful that I was in the shelter! The attached photo shows shelter, adjacent tents, and several hikers. Today's miles - 25.6. Total miles - 616.3.

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