July 21st 2018
RPH Shelter – Ten Mile River tentsite (1459.8)
29.7 miles
Total miles: 1480.4


I was so thirsty in the night I had to drink water. I never drink water in the night. It must have been the Chinese food. I don’t know why I got Chinese. It’s never a good idea. I also had to pee around 4am so I got up and used the privy. At 4:30am I hear Pony Boy deflate his air mattress. 4:30am. I lay awake for a while and I drift in and out of a light sleep before beginning to pack up at 6:30am. Once again, not enough sleep. 

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I hike out with Jukebox while the others are still packing up. We have a big day planned and I want to get started because I will need all the hours in the day. It was really nice to have some time with Jukebox and we chatted loads. We talked about our travels and discovered we were in Indonesia at the same time. I was conscious that she is a much faster hiker than me, with much longer legs and a bigger stride and she said she was happy being behind me but I’m sure she could have moved ahead a lot quicker. 

We knocked out 5 miles at a reasonable pace and I was pleased to have been able to hike this morning without slowing down too much on the uphills. During those 5 miles we came to a road crossing and we thought we were going to die. We were half way across the road and a car came over the brow of a hill really fast. I ran to the other side and Jukebox stood on the yellow line and closed her eyes. The car stopped to let her across. We didn’t die today. 

We also met Ralph and his wife Cathy. Ralph of the RPH Shelter. They had just been out doing some trail maintenance, cutting down a tree. He hiked the trail in the 70s and again in sections over the last 22 years. It was great to stop and chat to him. 

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We stopped at the water and Shred caught up. I hiked behind him and Jukebox and I would keep up for a while and then I would lose them, my initial spurt of energy this morning having completely deserted me. They stopped to pee and I caught them up again, hiked with them for a bit and then I would lose them again. 

We had a quick break at a shelter and then I carried on my routine with Shred and Jukebox until we got to the lake and as it was already 1:30pm we stopped for lunch. I ate a handful of crisps. I looked ahead to the water sources and I realised I had made a horrible mistake. All the upcoming water sources were dry and it was 11 miles to the next water. I had half a litre of water left. We could have got some water from the lake but it was pretty gross and scummy around the edges. And lake water generally tastes nasty. 

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None of us really had enough water and it became something I couldn’t stop thinking about. I felt constantly thirsty but I didn’t want to drink the water I had because I might need it later on. I was starting to feel really rough. I was slipping behind and I felt like a wind up toy coming to the end of its power. I was getting slow in the uphills and I was tripping and slipping. I went over on my ankle and today the rocks were covered in dead leaves which made the rocks really slippery. 

Just as I was thinking uh-oh, this water situation is really not good, we crossed a road and there was trail magic there! The most wonderful surprise trail magic when you need it most. I downed a Mountain Dew without really tasting it or it touching the sides. Then straight away I drank half a litre of water. I ate a banana and some cookies and I felt so good. It really couldn’t have come at a better time. They do trail magic regularly and they know what hikers like. 

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I was able to fill my water bottles and the panic about water was over. At that spot was the largest oak tree in the AT, I didn’t get a picture but there is a bit of it in the pic with the trail angels. It was a big tree, you get the idea. We still had more than 12 miles to go to get to the shelter and it was already 2:30pm. Ugh. 

The trail then goes through some pastures and it goes uphill on a hill that just won’t end. It seemed to go on and on and on. We board walked for a short distance and then fought our way through some long grasses. The first hill I was flying up, maybe it was the caffeine in the Mountain Dew. Passed the train station. Here you can go to NYC straight from the Appalachian trail, but only on the weekend 

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Shred and I played a few games to keep us occupied and as we were walking along I saw a caterpillar dangling in the air. I thought I avoided it but when I turned around to look it was gone. I was sure it was on me and I eventually sensed it was on my neck and Shred had to pick it off for me because I was freaking out. I though it was one of those furry ones but it turned out to just be a normal one. 

I walked with Shred for the rest of the afternoon and we had some pretty intense little uphills. I was sweating a lot and I was so grateful that we got to get more water because it would have been awful. With Shred out in front I definitely hiked faster than I would of by myself. We made it to the penultimate shelter and stopped there for a break. We had done over 25 miles on a rocky trail and we were all really feeling it. Sore feet and tired legs. 

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We met Poppa J again. We had met him outside the motel in Warwick the first time and he was really grumpy, but he was like a different person today. He showed us the cartoon stamp he had made and it’s so cool. He’s a really good cartoonist. 

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The French man, Burgundy, was also there and he passed us earlier in the day. I had to hang back a bit because I was downwind and he really did smell. 

We hiked on. 4 miles to go. Shred and I caught up to Peaches and we walked with her too and they passed the time by talking about the 24 24 24 challenge which they are planning to do, and then we caught up to Jukebox and hiked with her the rest of the way. 

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We went to a campsite 0.1 past the shelter. My first port of call was to the privy as I had been holding something in all day. It was nice to let go. I pitched my tent quickly and got inside away from the bugs. I lay down and my legs and feet were instantly throbbing. Jukebox went for a skinny dip in the river. I wish I was confident enough with my body to skinny dip. 

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I’m now snuggled in my bag writing this as a race against time before that Aleve PM kicks in and I can’t keep my eyes open any more. My legs are seriously throbbing. 


Watch the video!

For this trip I made a daily video diary which you can watch here: DAY 74

 

 


 

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