Mile 1782 to 1806
I wake in the night to the sounds of a deer breaking branches on his way to the spring. There is splashing and frantic panting. It seems he has fallen in and is struggling to get out. Oh deer.
When I reawaken at my normal time I notice condensation in and on my tent and sleeping bag. We will need to find some drying time later, but not now. It is time to get going.
On a Fitpacking trip in Shenandoah a client described a rough portion of the trail as truck loads of loose bricks dumped on the ground and tilted at an incline. That pretty much describes huge sections of today’s trail. The good news is that the rocks are above treeline and the vistas quite spectacular. The bad news is we are being eaten alive by mosquitoes. We are hiking with netting over our heads.
As we crest the summit by Devil’s Peak, a local tells us the mosquitoes are much better on this side. He credits a bunch of frogs for the miracle. I tell him if I didn’t smell so bad, I would hug him. Sure enough, on this side there are few mosquitoes. As we approach each little creek, there are thousands of tiny frogs everywhere. Our first reaction is to catch some and take them with us. They can ride on our shoulders, head, or where ever they want, as long as they eat the attacking mozzies.
I have wondered what a plague of frogs is really like. I mean frogs, really? They are so cute and harmless, what is the problem? Today we figured it out. The frogs do not harm directly. They let you maim and kill yourself by twisting, turning and contorting so as not to step on the little devils. And Devils they are, jumping onto and into everything we put on the ground. There really can be too much of a good thing.
We stop at a small campsight and cook dinner. It gives us a break and the energy to push on. In 3.5 more miles we stop for the day. Our 24 miler is a new record for Kevin. This camp is covered with super light lava rocks, the kind that float if you put them in water. It feels like we are on some fake movie set and it is impossible to use these large rocks to keep your tarp from flying away or to pound in stakes.
A huge tree nearby is making the same sound our neighbor’s pine tree made right before it came crashing down through a fence and into the street. There are so many downed trees all around, we are pretty sure we know what this one is planning. We un-stake and move Kevin’s tent to what we assume is a safer location.
As I set up I realize I did not stop to dry out my tent and sleeping bag. What an idiot. I sleep in the damp as punishment.