(from Ellie's journal, April 13)
Partly because I'm encased in my down comforter in the middle of the day. Partly because I've been feeling down.
In Franklin my phone wouldn't work and I couldn't find sally. Yesterday I started the trail again assuming she was ahead of me, then learned via trail grapevine that she was "zeroing" (rest day, 0 miles) in franklin. So I was ahead of her. I could stop somewhere and wait for HER to catch up with ME. Yay!
Testerday was warm and sunny, a beautiful Easter hiking day. I'd found a church - Methodist - with an 8:30 service and great contemporary songs. During the sermon, I got feeling icky. Hot, faint. I'm no longer used to sitting still in a closed space. I had to go out for a while.
Got back on the trail about noon and hit 7 miles in 3 hours despite a newly-resupplied pack (heavy). Started down the path to the shelter and didn't like the looks - half a mile down a long hill and close enough to town that others might bypass it. I wasted probably a mile trying to decide and then headed for the next one, another 7. Met up with a high-school group whose teacher/counselor/fearless leader person told me it was a rough 7 miles and too late to be trying it. I kept on for about another half mile and decided he was right. turned around, knocked off anothe redundant mile till I found them again, and camped near them.
Today, doing the 7 I'd started yesterday, I'm glad I didn't try it. It was rough.
Figured if Sally starts from town today, this shelter here would give her 11 miles, I'll wait here for her. But she must have gone on to the next for a 16-miler...no sign of her, and I've been here almost 4 hours. Finally got a little spasm of residual life on my phone and had 3 voicemails from her, desperately trying to find me in Franklin. Now my phone is croaking again, hers is either turned off or no signal, and I'm trying to communicate with her via Trail grapevine.
It's cold, so foggy that 4 of us are looking through mist at each other in the shelter, sitting inside our sleeping bags for warmth. Now that I've decided Sally went on, it's too late to try the 5 miles to catch up with her.
I'm with "Itchy", a young woman who started south from Harper's Ferry, WV in late January after a personal crisis, Shaun, a young man who hasn't said much, and a woman with a sprained ankle and a bad cold who is carrying her mother's ashes to scatter on Clingman's Dome, NC, the highest point on the trail, after which she'll continue on to Maine. That's about the most heartrending story I've heard so far.
Yesterday I was alone all day hiking, and today I was alone because no one had stayed where I started from so I was alone again today. Last night and today were the first times I've seriously thought "Why am I out here? I want to go home."
Now that I've found other humans I feel better. Amy, newly named "Constant" just showed up and I may start hanging with her.