June 24th 2018
Tentsite – Rockfish Gap / Wainsboro (mile 863)
17.3 miles
Total miles 879.9


So imagine someone creeping into your room at night while you’re sleeping, leaning over you and screaming as loud as possible in your ear. That’s what it was like around 11pm when a screecher owl landed on a tree just above our tents. The sound was piercing through the night and we both woke with a start and screamed. 

We thought it was some kind of killer animal…a coyote or something. When we realised it was an owl, well when Short Shorts realised it was an owl, we could relax a bit. Although the adrenaline was surging and our hearts were beating out of our chests. 

The rest of the night went without incident and when I woke up I could hear little sprinkles of rain on my tent. It had dried out nicely through the night and I didn’t want to pack up a wet tent again! When I looked over to Short Shorts his tent had collapsed and he was just lying in a bundle. When we thought it was going to rain harder we quickly packed up but it ended up not coming to much, just enough so that my tent fly was too wet to put inside my bag. 

17 miles to town. I was on a mission. I wouldn’t stop until I got there. Short Shorts went ahead and he was on a bigger mission than I was, I knew I wouldn’t see him again until I got to town. There were no significant climbs today but there were constant short ups and downs. The trail started out really rocky so that slows you down significantly. One lapse in concentration could end your hike. I watched as Short Shorts bashed his foot on a rock yesterday and I have no idea how he can do this trail in sandals. I kick rocks multiple times a day. 

There were a couple of views along the way today. One looked out over to the other ridge and I couldn’t work out whether they were buildings or cliffs in the distance. I saw another woman and asked her what they were. She said it was a ski resort. Of course it was. It’s obvious when it’s pointed out. 

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Someone left some water, next to a spring, on a section of trail that had really good spring water. An odd decision I thought. 

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I was moving along nicely. 9.8 miles in 4 hours. I was on track. There were tonnes of day hikers out today. No one yielded for me so I decided to just carry on hiking, like they do. If I wasn’t carrying a single thing and a hiker with a pack came towards me I would give way. Just saying. 

Along the way there was a little grave site where there were some tiny headstones and the ruins of an old dwelling further up the trail. 

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I made a real rookie error with some water, and I saw a guy stopped next to a stream and I said ooh water. I had been carrying my half a litre for a while and I decided to tip it out because it was a bit warm and found out that I had exchanged crystal clear spring water for some muddy brown horrible water. I wasn’t going to drink it so I tipped it out and went without. Luckily there was another stream about half a mile down the trail which was clear so I could get some there, I was pretty thirsty by then and I hadn’t needed a wee all day. 

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I got a move on and I made it to the road just before 2pm. I went straight to the popcorn truck and I bought a soda. They gave me a list of trail angels who offer rides to town so I called one and Mr Gizmo came to pick me up. Wainsboro is a really hiker friendly town. They have hiker info they give out and a huge list of trail angel shuttles. Mr Gizmo gave me a tour of town before taking me to the Quality Inn where Short Shorts had already got a room. He welcomed me to the Bible Belt and explained that as it’s a Sunday town would mostly be deserted because everyone is in church. 

Had I been on my own I would have stayed at the hostel but Short Shorts asked if I wanted to split a room and sometimes it’s nice to have your own space. 

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I took a shower. Noticed I had a zillion bug bites on my arms and shoulders. Every time I stay in a shelter I get so badly bitten. The weather on the way in looked pretty apocalyptic and there was lightning in the distance. We got lucky and the rain poured down while I was showering and it was bright and sunny when we left to go to the Chinese buffet. 

Now this was a decent Chinese buffet! The options were plentiful and good and crucially they were labelled so you knew what you were eating. My first course was a fish course and I loaded up with salmon, prawns and crawfish. So good. Then I had a chicken and vegetable dish where I got my fill of broccoli and courgette and mini corn and a little bit of chicken. Then I had lychees and peaches and ice cream for desert. I wanted to eat so much more but I was too full. 

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I decided to go to the supermarket on the way back but it was all too much. I walked around aimlessly and left without buying anything. 

When I got back to the motel Short Shorts was watching The Matrix, a great film which I can’t believe is nearly 20 years old. I tried and failed to update the blog and for one glorious hour I put my phone down and just zoned out on the movie. Exactly what I needed. There was no laundry service at the motel, because it was a Sunday, so I went without laundry and just washed a couple of bits out in the sink. I needed to wash my socks about six times before the water stopped being brown. Nothing will ever get the stink out of them. 

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I went back to the supermarket around 8pm, it was still 26°C outside, and bought some little bits for resupply, a microwave pizza for Short Shorts and some microwave popcorn for me. Back at the motel The Matrix Reloaded was on the tv, which is one of the worst films ever made! I remember going to watch the midnight screening of this much anticipated film when I was at university and I thought it was crap then. It’s still crap now. 

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I may have found something even more disgusting than Man Dip!

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We ate our goodies. I tried to rehydrate with a Gatorade and eventually the movie became too bad and we turned it off. My body has been screwed up by tv, electric lights and air conditioning. It’s 10:30pm already. I hope I sleep well. 


Watch the video!

For this trip I made a daily video diary which you can watch here: DAY 47

 

 


 

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