First major gear failure. (Or second, really. I feel the loss of that windbreaker every time a mosquito bites me or I start to sweat like a squeezed sponge under my rain jacket.) Last night, my Exped mat popped a baffle. Literally: pop! This is ungood. I’m stupid; I forgot these Exped mats do this, even though this is like a rerun of 2013. So I’ll be on the ground until I can get to an outfitter, whenever that’ll be. They’re rare up here. On the other hand, it’s not dire. I’ll keep the mat very underinflated, and hopefully none of the other baffles will pop before I can replace it.

In addition to ignoring the 700 miles still to hike (the hardest miles), more and more hikers are having to deal with gear issues. Long hikes are tough on gear. There’s an ultralighter with a MYOG (“make your own gear”) net bivvy who’s come to realize that the mosquitos are eating him alive through the netting because he made it too narrow.

I did laundry in Kent, but skipped the shower. Despite my filth, public showers squick me more. I’ve seen too many hikers with athlete’s foot, viruses, fungal infections use them. My favorite, from a hiker toweling her hair and pointing to a giant boil on her leg: “Gross, isn’t it? I’m pretty sure it’s a staph infection.”

It’s going to rain this afternoon. I’ll get wet then, and shower on Monday.

I left the laundromat cleaner than I found it. Kent and hikers have sometimes been at war. I’m a good hiker ambassador. 🙂

I decided to hate myself and have French toast for breakfast, instead of my usual protein on a hiking day. If you’re gonna Kent, you gotta Kent.


So… later. I’m at the laundromat pacing and finishing my coffee, and I glance at their bulletin board. There’s a notice that Covered Wagon General Store now has hiking gear. What the heck, I figured. I waited until 10 when they opened, and they actually had a nice little selection of gear… including a Z-lite mat! So I bought it. I usually find foam mats uncomfortable, and they have next to no warmth value, but it’s an experiment. I’ve never tried one when I’m this skinny. Right now I’m carrying both mats—the damaged inflatable and the accordion. If I can sleep on the accordion, I’ll dump the 1-pound Exped in Salisbury in 2 days, saving 4 ounces.

On the other hand, I gained 2 ounces by picking up a new pair of rain socks at Sundog. I love that store. 😁 The rain socks are just lightweight, quick-drying socks that I can wear when it rains. It stretches my wool sock game at least a week. And time is miles.

Kent was all win. Good laundry, powdered milk at the IGA, good coffee, good breakfast, socks, gear, water faucet, flush toilet. I’m so glad I went in!

The hiking this afternoon was tough. Exceptionally heavy pack, exceptional heat, and a stretch of straight down that could qualify as one of the steepest descents on the trail, except it’s short. But then 2 miles of flat beauty, and my tent is pitched while it’s thundering, before the big rain.

We’ll see how this mat does in the rain. The high inflatable was a big part of my rain system.

Gnats are off the hook today. Dozens of them, swarming me! Thank god for my head net, even though I look like a lunch lady.

Sour gummy bears are weird.

That is all. Here comes the rain! I feel so low to the ground!