July 27th 2018
October mountain shelter – Cheshire (mile 1578.8)
20.8 miles
Total miles: 1600

I slept a little restlessly last night. My feet were throbbing and I knew we were trying to get up early so I kept waking up in anticipation of my alarm. It felt like it was raining in the night but I think it was just the trees raining down little blobs. 

My alarm went off at 5:30am. Half an hour to pack up and I was on the trail with Jukebox just after 6am. Professor and Shred were just behind. The energy from yesterday had totally deserted me. I was trying my best to keep up with Jukebox, but the flat bit of trail we were anticipating was covered in roots and rock and muddy puddles. There were lots of planks of wood strategically placed over some of the really wet bits, but I was worried about slipping on them like I had done before. We had a good pace going but we soon slowed down a bit and we were both thinking the same thing, that this was totally exhausting! It just felt like a giant relentless obstacle course. 


My feet were in so much pain, I had repurposed the bandage from yesterday and just hoped for the best. The most painful parts are the underneaths of my toes. The bit where the blister is was the most sore. But all I could do was power on through and try and not get my feet wet. 

When we hit the uphill I felt like I hit a wall. Jukebox pulled away and I was left struggling to get up the hill. I felt like someone was pulling me backwards. I made my way to the top of the climb and I had to sit down for a bit. I ate a Twix and some candy and loaded my fanny pack with crisps. Shred caught up to me and quickly pulled ahead. Once we were done with the hills I got a second wind and caught him up again. He powered up the next hill. I crawled up. I caught him up on the downhill. 


Eventually we had done 12 miles into the town of Dalton. We crossed the railway line and found a cooler of trail magic. This one was full of cold soda and chocolate bars! Yeay! On the way down Shred and I discussed what we wanted to eat in town but so couldn’t think properly because I needed to poo so badly. I had been holding it in for about 8 miles. 


We walked through town and saw all the houses and how ‘New England’ they all were. We saw a local trail angels house which had various trekking poles stuck in his garden, and found the cafe where Jukebox was which was a tiny bit off the trail. Professor arrived not long after us and we all ordered sandwiches and soda. Mozzarella, tomato, lettuce and chipotle mayo for me. It was good. I appreciated the crazy amount of mozzarella!


We hung out there for a while, the waitress was extremely grumpy but overall they were hiker friendly. The WiFi was the quickest I’d had since Harper’s Ferry so I was able to get a load of photos and videos uploaded to the cloud and free up some space on my phone. Shred had some errands to do and Jukebox had a package at the post office. I went to the gas station to get a Gatorade and grabbed a Twix ice cream bar while I was there. 

We ended up staying in town for 3 hours! More than we had anticipated. And now we were worried about beating the rain. A storm was due to roll in around 4pm. We left town at 1:45pm with another 9 miles to go to the next town Cheshire. 


We hiked out of town and ended up walking the wrong way. Thinking I hadn’t seen a white blaze for some time I checked the gps and sure enough we were heading in the wrong direction. We got ourselves back on track and found there was a mile and a half road walk out of town. Great, quick easy miles before the climb! 

After the road was a reasonably big climb and I was at the back of the pack. My feet were even more sore after being sat around for three hours and I made the mistake of not removing my shoes or letting my feet air out at all. The trail was nice in some places, rocky and rooty in others, muddy and boggy in some places and then there were so many crossings of little streams and creeks. With all the rain everything was flowing. Thankfully there were logs and stones to hop on to get across and I made it with just a slightly damp right foot. 


After the climb the trail evened out a bit but I was still going slow. I managed to pick up the pace a bit on the way downhill but my feet were becoming more sore. I got texts from the others to say they were walking into town but I was still half a mile out. They said they were getting ice cream. That was the inspiration I needed. I moved quicker and to my delight found there was a road walk into down. A downhill road walk so I ran it. A local asked me if I was trying to beat the rain. Sure, that’s what I’m doing. 

And I was in a way because the black clouds were gathering out to the west. I made it to the ice cream shop and got myself a couple of scoops. The others were still finishing theirs so I can’t have been too far behind! Then Jukebox had pulled a blinder again and had got us a couch surfing host for the night! We didn’t want to hike on in the rain which was now starting to drizzle and there are no lodging options in Cheshire. 


The lady came to collect us, easier as there are only 4 of us tonight. As we were driving away we saw what looked like Peaches walking down the road. We called her but she said she was going to carry on to the next shelter, 4 miles away, because she wanted to get her 30 mile day in. 

We went back to her house, after stopping of to pick up some beer for the boys, and it was a wonderful place. With a dog, Jack Straw, and a cat – heaven. We got showers, got our laundry going and ordered pizza. Our hosts were so nice and we had great conversation with them. The pizza was a little expensive but considering we are staying here for free it’s a steal. My feet feel a little better after a shower but they have really swollen up and they are so fat. I have also taken to walking around holding my toes up because it now hurts to put them on the ground and they are too swollen to bend. I’ve rubbed a whole bunch of stuff into them in the hope they might not feel so bad in the morning. 


Watch the video!

For this trip I made a daily video diary which you can watch here: DAY 80