Day 30 (April 22nd): Spring Mountain Shelter to Jerry Cabin Shelter

Miles hiked today: 15.4
Miles hiked total: 300.3
Miles to go: 1885.0

We hit the 300 mile mark today!

I felt much better today than yesterday, I’m happy to report! I actually kept up with everyone on the uphills and my legs felt strong again. It also rained on and off all day, which was actually nice because it kept the temperature down.

I hiked today with Wing It, Stylez, and Blacksmith. I think we’re all planning to hike the same miles into Erwin, and we’re talking about splitting a motel room and taking a Nero day, which is something to look forward to. I love hiking, but I also really enjoy my town days, too!

There was one section of trail today that AWOL described in the guidebook as being “rocky and strenuous.” We all laughed about this because we thought he was exaggerating. We finally got to the 1.5-mile section and started laughing at AWOL some more because the terrain really wasn’t all that bad. At least, in the beginning. It quickly got tough, though. The “rocky and strenuous” section of trail was on an exposed ridgeline and it rained on us the entire time we were on it, which made the rock slabs very slippery and dangerous. I’m sure on a clear day, the views would have been spectacular and hiking on this terrain might have been fun, but we were just focused on getting back below the trees without falling flat on our faces in the process. We all almost made it out unscathed, too, but then Blacksmith slipped on a rock and ended up bruising his wrist.

We stopped for a break after we got off the ridgeline and Stylez spotted a salamander. We were all able to snap some pictures before it scampered away.

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So far, no one from the bigger crew has shown up. I’m assuming they’ll role into Erwin as we’re leaving. I miss having the usual crew around, but I’m confident they’ll catch up eventually. They’re never too far behind. I’m also meeting so many new people right now at the shelters. It’s amazing to me how many people are out here that I still haven’t met, even though we’ve been hiking so closely to each other. There are a bunch of people at the shelter tonight that I’ve never met before. One woman is called Kickapoo and she was a Nordic ski instructor before coming out to the trail to hike. Bear Bag and Mighty Blue are also here tonight.

Upon reaching the shelter, we all grabbed the first tent sites we found, set up camp, changed out of our wet clothes, and made dinner under our vestibules. Everything is wet outside even though it’s stopped raining, and I’m not really interested in hanging out in the cloud so I’ve taken refuge inside my tent. It’s a party down at the shelter, but it’s bedtime for this tired hiker!

TTFN!

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