May 26th 2018
Hot springs / Elmer’s Sunnybank Inn – Little Laurel Shelter (mile 294.1)
19.7 miles
Total miles: 304.1

I had a terrible nights sleep. Like I always do in town. The man I was sharing with snored very very loudly and also let out massive farts in his sleep which was a real treat! It was also incredibly hot and even with just a sheet I was too hot. 

I was reluctant to leave! I considered a zero but I feel like I’ve got to keep pushing on. I ended up faffing around a lot, doing last minute bits I should have organised yesterday. I backflushed my sawyer filter and I ordered a rain kilt from Zpacks. I could have ordered it about a week ago but I was annoyed that they said it was going to be a 4 week lead time, and I thought about getting something different. But then I spoke to someone who has one and the said they were really good, so I got out of my strop and asked them to prioritise the order. We’ll see what happens. 

The hostel only takes cash, and they had to give me some coins in change so I went to the dollar store on the way out of town and bought a chocolate milk for breakfast. They didn’t open until 8am and I was there at 8:01 so all the faffing around worked out for the best in the end. 


I was feeling sluggish today and the forecast was for rain. You walk out of town and over the bridge and follow the big river for about a mile. There were a few people camped along there. I’m pretty sure one of them was Buzzy. I had a Buzzy update from In-a-Rush yesterday, he said he saw him camped on the highway, remember that bit where I crossed under Interstate 40, he camped there! Plus he was walking along drinking a bottle of whiskey. The man is a mess. So when I saw a very badly pitched tent, I assumed it was him. 


There were so many mosquitos along the river and I was getting bitten to pieces. I did think about carrying on yesterday but the only marked campsite on the app was 10 miles away and I didn’t have another 10 miles in me, but there are loads of camp spots along those 10 miles. The first climb up away from the river was a brutal one. I had sweat literally pouring out of my face. I started with my trash bag skirt on as it was drizzling, but I soon had to take that off because I was melting. The weather kept threatening and my umbrella went up and down several times, but it never came to much. I passed loads of runners as I was crawling my way up the mountain! 


My plan today was to trudge along until I made it to the shelter. I was expecting people behind me to overtake me on the way. I had one speed and it was slow. 

The first 10 miles went by without much incident. I didn’t do much filming, I didn’t take many photos. My trash bag was on and off several times and the umbrella went up and down. I can get my umbrella out without taking my pack off but annoyingly I can’t put it away without stopping and removing my pack. Every time I had to take my pack off I was reminded of how terrible I and everything I own smells. The straps of my pack are gross, the back of my pack is gross. My socks really smell, and my shoes, now they have been wet for a while, are stinky. My clothes were last washed 11 days ago so they are nasty. Especially the armpit area. Even the trash bag I’ve been using really stinks. 


I passed a group of scouts and the leader stopped to chat to me. He told me he had passed 16 thru-hikers today. I think he meant hikers, not necessarily thru-hikers, but that’s still quite a lot of people not very far ahead of me. Maybe I’ll find some friends. 

Shortly after I passed them the rain began properly and didn’t let up for the next 5 hours. The only time I stopped today was to get the crisps out of my food bag. I’m really loving my bum bag / fanny pack now that I fill it with food. I can just graze as I go. I’m finding food really difficult this time around. I am just craving really plain stuff. Salty crisps mostly. I ate a cereal bar, two Twix bars, some skittles and a bag of crisps today. 


As the rain got worse so did the trail. The downhills were really slippery and I stacked it once as I slid down and landed on my bum. 

It rained and rained and I trudged along. The umbrella was keeping me dry, aside from the sweat and the trash bag was keeping my bum dry. In the last 2 miles I kept looking at the gps and I had only moved 0.3 or 0.2 of a mile. I felt like I was never going to get there. 


Eventually I made it and there were a few hikers already there set up in the shelter. There were 4 section hikers and a bunch of people camping. There was room for me in the shelter so I set up my stuff and then had something to eat. I had half a knorr rice side. I remembered from the first bite that they are gross. I forced it down. The bugs were intense and the section hikers gave me some bug spray. I accepted it for the first time this trip as they were just driving me insane. 

The privy was one of the more basic and more stinky on the trail. I’m pretty sure that this shelter has a bunch of mice but at least I’ll be dry. Just as I was getting settled the guy I was talking to this morning arrived. I can’t remember his name. He took the last space in the shelter so we are full tonight. Then the two Estonians arrived. I asked the man whom I can’t remember the name of what time he ended up leaving in the end, and he said around 10am. Estonian man says immediately, “I left later than that”. 


Who puts their ‘soiled underpants’ in a privy?!

Ok. Once again my cue to leave the conversation! I hate the macho competition attitude. They need constant reassurance that they are better than everyone else. Whatever. 

One of the section hikers gave me some ear plugs and the warning that a few of them snore. I was grateful for the earplugs as I had been meaning to get some anyway. He was carrying a whole bag of them so he could offer them to people like me. I think all snorers should do that! 


For this trip I made a daily video diary which you can watch here, this is the first new one I have uploaded since I have finished the trail: DAY 18





Adventure with purpose.

785 million people globally don't have access to clean water. That's 1 in 10 people. In 2020 this is not ok.

I fundraise for Just a Drop in the hope that if I walk thousands of miles for clean water then the people who need to won’t have to. Find out more


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