Wet and wild

Mile 316.1—Bush camp at Rice Gap (10.6 miles)Sunday, April 14

No way to sugarcoat it: Today sucked. Not just for me. For everybody.

It’s been overcast and drizzly for the last two days. Then last night, it broke out into horrific wind and pouring rain. I popped a tent stake, waited until dawn (late for me), then packed up wet.

The wind was terrible all morning. Loud as a constant train, ripping at my pack cover. Then around noon the rain broke out, too. It was 55 degrees. I made it about 3 hours. When I decided I was getting too chilly, I found a flat spot and set up in the driving rain. I ate food and got into my sleeping bag. But now the rain’s stopped and the wind’s whipping hard down this gap again, and I’m just lying here hoping the stakes hold and the pole doesn’t break.

I hate today.

In other news… jeep update! There was a drivers license on the ground near the jeep. Also, two hikers saw the man and woman walking away down a side road. If anybody feels like looking into it, I’m dying to know how they’re getting that car off the trail! It was between Hot Springs and Erwin, at around mile 301, just after the ‘bad weathet bypass.’

Wind wind wind wind. Tomorrow morning I’ll have a sodden nightmare of a mess to deal with. Even my pack is soaked—it’s out in the vestibule.

Wait… what?

Mile 305.5—Shelton Graves [15.6 miles]Saturday, April 13

Yes, I’m sleeping in a clearing near two Civil War graves. They won’t mind. There’s even a fire ring nearby.

Another rough day. Spitting rain, drizzle, chilly clouds. Lots of climbs. But the weirdest thing happened right after mile 300. There was a jeep crashed on the trail. An actual jeep. On the trail. On a part of the trail that no jeep could possibly have driven to. Surrounded by ruts that showed how hard he’d tried to get out. He’d hit a little tree and it was poking up into the engine.

A few miles later down at the shelter were the jeep drivers. They obviously were involved in a big mess fueled by who knows? There was no signal to call out, but one hiker took pictures of the crashed jeep and said he’d send them to the cops or rangers when he had a signal.

Spring is coming from the ground up. The trees are gray and leafless, but closer to the ground, the world is remembering color.

Didn’t see anybody I know today. Really, have I fallen behind? I did see a few hikers who were at Laughing Heart when I was, and I met a German girl, Ding Dong, who had to take three zeroes in Hot Springs because her calves are in bad shape.