(My journal, 06/08/09)
Miles hiked: 11.x, short day following yesterday's near-20.
Hiked with: Jim Dandy and Bee Man, but they walked down the road to get cheeseburgers and I hiked on, so I was alone for 8 miles of thoughts and rocks and finished an hour or so ahead of them.
Stayed at: Blackburn AT Center, an actual house with wrap-around screened porch for eating, socializing, and sleeping (no access to actual house), 7 tentsites, a lukewarm solar shower, potable water from a hose, and a cabin with 4 bunks.
Weather: Cool and breezy.
Terrain: Steep ups and downs, and very rocky.
Bee Man, Jim Dandy, Solar Man and I stayed in the cabin. The 3-generation family slept on the screened porch, along with Lucky Star (a girl) and Pyrofly (a guy), who hike together and whom I've run into here and there for a couple months. It was good to see them again to say goodbye.
The caretaker cooked up a huge vat of spaghetti, with made-from-scratch sauce and Italian bread he'd also made himself, and brownies. Bee Man eats no wheat products and abstained, cooking up whatever lentil-rice mix he had there. I don't eat wheat, either, in general, but I took a chance and ate the dinner. Afterwards I took 2 Imodium tablets, then another before bed, and another on awakening, which allowed me to make it to the pit privy w/o having to make an emergency stop en route and dig a cat hole. Another tablet back in the cabin, and I was OK the rest of the day. Why does everything have to be made with wheat???
The cabin had a front porch, and after dinner I sat out there playing sad, sweet farewell songs on my Irish penny whistle. "Auld Lang Syne," and "God Be With You Till We Meet Again," the mood of which was shot when one of the guys, I'm not saying who, ripped this elongated, exaggerated fart, an everyday occurrence among hikers subsisting on dehydrated food and legumes, but this one rated probably an 8 out of 10, and that was the end of the sad sweet songs as typical ribald hiker hilarity took over. We have deteriorated into a bunch of dirtballs.
Solar Man had left the Trail for about 3 weeks and returned about 5 days ago. When he saw me he said, "Yard Sale! Gad! You look like a refugee from a war camp! Every time you go near a town you need to get 3 Big Macs!" Solar Man is fun. He's from Hawaii and has done IronMan Kona.
My last night on the Trail. Jim Dandy asked me, "Are you having regrets yet?" I said, "Yeah. But I'm doing the right thing."
I am. I can't wait to get on my bike again. I hope I can run. My tendons were aching today on the last section of the Roller Coaster. Not injured.... just stressed. My knees hurt, too, but I'm not worried about them. I have Achilles Tendon PTSD. My plantar fascia hurts as well, and my unhealed sub-callus blisters. Actually, now that I think of it, I hurt all over. Bedtime meds now include: Xanax to prevent nighttime panic attacks as well as induce sleep; Benadryl because my myriad bug bites itch (also helps with sleep); 600-800mg of ibuprofen, since as soon as I lie down my hips, thighbones, knees, shinbones, ankles and feet start to ache, about a 6 on a scale of 10. And of course, tonight, I included the Imodium as antidote to the bread-and-pasta dinner.
My last night. Harper's Ferry tomorrow will give me 1,013 miles. Even without the lure of SavageMan, I don't think I have another 1,170 miles in me. I am whupped.