Mile 1309 to 1284
I wake several times in the night. It is raining pretty hard. At our normal get up time it is still raining, and no one is moving. We each eventually pack everything we can in our tents. We are waiting for a break in the rain, or a break in our ability to deny our aching bladders. For me they both come at about the same time.
No coffee this morning. I just cram down some junk food, dried nuts and dried fruit. I pack the tent up soaking wet, hoping to have sun and time to dry it later. We trickle out into the mist and drizzle. I hike most of the day alone. BLT and Dish Cloth are stronger and far ahead. Sometimes when they stop to smoke I catch up, but it doesn’t last long. Klutz and Mountain Goat are not far behind me, yet far enough that I do not see them even once the entire 25 miles.
Although it is beginning to sound silly, today was the worst obstacle course yet. The trail was littered with fallen branches and trees, but now we have added an amazing number of seasonal stream crossings. The streams are all in season, and my aching body is cross. The streams occasionally stayed in the stream beds, but frankly seemed to prefer going down the trail. The brush is so thick that at times the trail is just an endless carwash of wet branches. I am soaked from head to foot and there is no lineup of guys with chamois to dry me.
The worst of the day, however, is my left knee. It is killing me. I am taking serious quantities of vitamin “I” (ibuprofen) which is helping, but I don’t really like taking it and I am not carrying that much. The 14 miles of downhill to Belden has done me in. I made it, but I am really worried about tomorrow, which is a boatload of up.
I have a burger at the Belden resort, and buy an elastic knee brace. I have about as much confidence in that as I do a rabbit’s foot, but they were out of those and vitamin “I”, which is what I really wanted.
There was never time to dry the tent. We are stealth camped in wet tents, at the bottom of the climb. Tomorrow is going to be my hardest day.