June 9th 2018
Partnership shelter – Reed Creek (mile 551.9)
18.3 miles

Total miles: 562.7

I tried to lie down last night to write the blog, but the coughing was too much and I had to sit upright. Eventually when I had to lie down to sleep I just had a huge coughing fit. Nothing would ease the dry tickle in the back of my throat so I got some cheese out of my food bag and ate that in the hope it would ease it a bit. It worked and I went off to sleep and I woke up coughing about half the amount I did the night before. An improvement. 

There were some weird noises in the night but I just ignored them and hoped for the best. I wanted to get up and get an early start because just 12 miles down the trail was the promise of food and soda, but it was so hard to get up and I ended up leaving at 7:20am. Awesome was at the shelter but he camped about 4 miles before and hiked in this morning. A few people are going into Marion to resupply but I have chosen to resupply at a gas station. 


these bins have a sneaky little side opening!


I hike out and I’m feeling so much better than I have done. I can breathe better and there isn’t the need for quite as many snot rockets. My cough has become a lot more rattly but that’s a good thing because it’s getting looser which is maybe why I can breathe better. 

There are a few uphills this morning and they are a struggle, because they always are and probably always will be, but I feel stronger and I manage to maintain a 2.4ish mile and hour pace. It’s pretty humid today and I get quite a sweat on. The trail is pretty rocky and rooty which hinders my progress a little. I pass a shelter where a couple of people are packing up, at 10:30am. 


As I carry on down the trail I go under some giant power lines which are noisy and crackling. Going near them is one of my least favourite things. I always imagine that the electricity is going to jump down off them and get me. A bit further on was a sign about trail magic from the church. There was an old school house from 1890 and I went in to have a look around. I didn’t see any trail magic and I just assumed there wasn’t anything there today. I went up to look around the Settlers Museum, but I didn’t stay long. I had food and soda on my mind. I would later find out that there was trail magic in the school house in boxes, which included sodas, but never mind. 


I went through the farmland and over railway lines and along boardwalks and I made it to the road at 12:10pm. Not too shabby. I went straight to the gas station and bought some things to add to my resupply. I already had some stuff left from the last resupply so I only really needed snacks, so basically I bought crisps and Twix. I also got a chocolate milk which I drank in one go and I got some throat sweets which I wished I had had for the last few days. 


Sticky nostrils makes it hard to breathe


I then went next door where there was a Mexican restaurant – El Burrito Loco. I had a chicken enchilada, rice and refried beans, chips and salsa and 3 bigs cups of Mountain Dew, all for $7 which was a bargain. The food was pretty good too. I had told myself that I would stay in there until 1:30pm and then leave. I dropped the kids off and then went to the gas station (a different one) to buy a Gatorade to put in my water bottle. I left through a different door and I saw Salty and Pi sat on a table outside. We chatted about the next few days and we kind of have the same plan so we are going to team up to Pearisberg. Pi said I was cool so that’s nice. 


I ended up staying with them until 3pm, just sat outside. It was a good thing I didn’t leave too soon because the kids had to get out again. 3 times in one day! It started to drizzle a bit and the sky looked quite foreboding in the direction we were heading. The forecast was for scattered thunderstorms. We packed up and left and the first couple of miles were fairly flat through meadows, and I was keeping up with my friends, but we came to some steep hills and I lost them very quickly. The good thing for me over the next few days is that although they hike fast they like to take long breaks so that suits me. I know I will be able to catch them up. 


The uphills were short but steep and I got slowed down a lot. Then a little sprinkle of rain came but it didn’t come to anything. I struggled my way up the hills and then I flew down the other side. The trail was downhill and it was so smooth, there were practically zero trip hazards and I ran down it so I made up a bit of time. It was 6.7 miles and I made it at around 5:40pm so that was alright. We had agreed to go to a particular campsite, and I walked past a bunch of people who were camped about 0.2 before it and didn’t recognise anyone so I carried on, but I heard some shouts of Puff Puff and it was Salty and Pi who thought that this was the campsite. 


They had already set up their tent and the big group of people – weekend hikers – had started blaring out some really awful music. I considered carrying on but in the end made the decision to camp there with them. Pi said she would tell them to turn it down if it went on past hiker midnight! 

The music did eventually get a little better, less mo-fo and more country, and it blended into the background a bit. I wasn’t too hungry after my Mexican lunch so I just ate some crisps and cheese. A few hikers came into our campsite, Happy who was trying to chase down Awesome but I told him I was pretty sure he was behind us. Short Shorts and a couple of other guys and a girl who I don’t know the names of, but they decided to go and camp a bit further on near the stream. So in the end it was just us three and the massive group of weekenders. Happy picks a tick out of his skin while he’s talking to us. Gross. He stabs it with his knife and then burns it with his lighter. 

The weekenders are now watching Kill Bill on an iPhone, but the soundtrack was blaring out over some very loud Bluetooth speakers! We stayed up and chatted until I started getting chilly and it was starting to get dark around 8:50pm. I was watching all the fireflies lighting up around the forest which were so cool! 

Thankfully at 9pm the movie got switched off and everything went quiet. It feels a little damp in the air tonight and I hope it doesn’t rain. I’ve not staked the door of my fly out so I will either not wake up and get wet, or I will have to scrabble around in the wet and dark trying to get it sorted. 

I seem to have developed a bit more snot in my nose and my ears have been blocked and popping all day. I get all my shit together and get into my tent. I get into my sleep clothes and I realise for the last few night I’ve not taken off my sports bra, even though I’ve been in my tent. What a mistake. I take it off tonight and I hope it will help give me a better night sleep. 

I suck a throat sweet while I type this. Good for my throat, not so great for my teeth, but it seems to help. I’m not coughing too much. I really hope this thing is on its way out and that tomorrow I will continue to feel better. 

Watch the video!

For this trip I made a daily video diary which you can watch here: DAY 32