I awoke in the bunk house of Angel’s Rest Hiker Haven once again. I slept okay. I would have slept better had I not eaten Mexican 3 nights in a row. My stomach was in knots. So I kept tossing and turning throughout the night. Though I’ve enjoyed my stay at this hostel, I’m looking forward to moving on today, and wandering back into the wildernesses. I plowed through a little work before packing up my belongings and meeting a few others for breakfast.

A nice older lady that worked at the hostel, by the name of Vera, was shuttling a few hikers to resupply at a nearby Walmart, then over to a local diner for breakfast. Mulligan and I decided to join them. It was myself, Mulligan, Vera, and two new hikers we hadn’t met before. They went by the names of Saunter and Smarty Pants. The food was good. Minus the sausage and gravy biscuits Vera warned me not to get. I thought, how can you mess up sausage and gravy biscuits? Well this place figured out how to do so. I still ate it of course? We finished our meals and headed back to the hostel to finish packing up and head out.

While packing I noticed my right foot started hurting. Geez, and we haven’t even started hiking yet, I thought. There were a few others that worked at the hostel we said good-bye too as well. Frizzle and Tramp. I can’t remember how Frizzle got his name. I think it has something to do with a magical bus or something. Tramp is half of “Lady and the Tramp”. His girlfriend is “Lady”. Frizzle dropped us back off at Peters Mountain Trailhead again. This time we were headed north though. Again we started off by this beautiful roaring river, and we climbed up, up, up the other side the mountain. We seemed to climb forever until we stopped at a shelter for lunch. There, we met two new hikers, by the names of Yellow Jacket and Super Girl. Yellow Jacket, clearly got his name from all of the yellow gear he was wearing. Super Girl was a bit of a comic junkie. Of course, she and I hit it off immediately, seeing how I how was a “superhero” too ?

We finished our lunches and headed out. Super Girl left a little ahead of us, and Mulligan hiked ahead as he usually does. I noticed almost immediately I wasn’t feeling much like a superhero at all. As superheroes don’t get hurt and don’t feel pain, right? With every step I took, my right foot hurt me more and more. If I didn’t put a lot of pressure on it, it seemed okay. So I started limping as I continued my climb up the mountain. It was brutal. I was in so much pain. It got worse as I hobbled my way across a cobblestone like pathways on the trail, and limping my way around these huge linebacker size boulders.

I passed an older, heavy set gentleman sitting on a log resting. When I got closer to him I tried not to limp as badly so I didn’t look so ridiculous. I’m usually very friendly to folks on the trail, stopping and saying hello, etc. I didn’t stop though. I did say hello, but that was about it. I needed to keep my momentum going to catch up with Mulligan. We were pushing for a shelter located around 15 miles north of our starting point for the day. I had only hiked about 9 miles at that point. I couldn’t imagine how I could hike another 6 miles limping. I caught up with Milligan at a creek getting some water and resting. He was waiting on me. He saw me coming, and limping, he knew something was wrong right away. We discussed a camp site that was just another mile ahead. It was supposed to have a nice view too. Though I didn’t want to stop after only 10 miles, with my foot hurting so badly, I knew it was in my best interest to do so. So we did.

I could tell Mulligan wanted to stop too. He was “selling” me on the idea of making a fire. He knows I love camp fires. He doesn’t typically like to make them. Most people are more interested in getting their tents setup, unpacking, and cooking and eating dinner, as opposed to messing with getting a fire going. Not to mention a lot of thru hikers spend hundreds of dollars on their tents. The last thing they need is a stray fire ember flying through the air and landing on their tent burning a hole in it. Holes in tents make rainy nights that much less enjoyable. So we both found flat areas to setup our tents, dropped our gear, and started looking for firewood.

The view was absolutely amazing. The location we were at was called Wind Rock. The sun was setting. We both took several shots and some video too. We still had about an hour or so before the sun was going to drop down behind the mountains and change colors. We setup our tents and got the fire blazing. About that time, the older gentlemen I passed resting on a log earlier caught up to us. His name was Colonel. Another younger hiker came up over the hill shortly after. His name was Derby. We welcomed them both into our campsite, pointing out some additional flat places we found they could setup their tents.  We also told them about the view over the rocks, informing them that the sun was setting, and invited them to join us as we watch.

The sunset was absolutely beautiful. Funny how fate works sometimes. Had my foot not hurt so badly, we probably wouldn’t have stopped and witnessed this amazing sunset. Though I’ve seen some amazing things already on the trail—nothing quite compared to this. We all sat there and watched in awe. Derby and I looked at each other nodding our heads (yes) and said about at the same time “this is what this journey is all about”. We took more photos and video and then climbed down off the rocks back to our campfire and started dinner.

Something has to be pretty special to keep thru hikers who just hiked 10+ miles that day from their dinners? This was one of those things. We were all starving though so we devoured our dinners pretty quickly. We sat around the campfire talking, getting to know each other better. There wasn’t a chance of rain but the wind sure was picking up like a storm was coming. Sure enough, drip, drip, drip, the rain spattered on us and our tents, and the clouds opened up and starting pouring on us.  We gathered our cookware, scrambled into our tents for shelter, and bided each other “good night”. I , as usual, checked in on my business, to make sure everything was okay, and worked a little before tucking away my laptop and falling fast asleep.

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