The weather for the next few days sounded suspect, so we asked Bambi and Spike what their plans were as they attempted to make blueberry pancakes without milk or eggs (It was a catastrophe). They wanted to head another 17 which would take them all the way back to River Road in Erwin. As we had heard rumors of rain and snow, we thought we would try the same. Emily's post rest ankle was hardly complaining though we are sure the heavy vitamin I prescription was helping.
The day was pretty quiet, people wise, though we wouldn't have been able to hear anything above the roar of the wind. On the eastern face of the mountain we would be buffeted every direction imaginable. It was brutal. A larger guy we were leapfrogging (leaptfrog?) said the wind was going to "blow his fat ass right off the mountain." As soon as we traveled to western slopes, it felt like we could suddenly hear again. We ate lunch by a beautiful creek at Spivey Gap. Every few minutes, though, we checked for dark rain clouds. Little ones kept going by and it always felt that we held our breath and clenched our teeth to. To avoid causing you too much suspense, the rain didn't come until after the 10 mile marker but even then it was only misty drizzle.
10 miles marked No Business Knob Shelter. Tyler backtracked a quarter mile to refill water which sadly was not labeled when we passed by. At the shelter, we ran into Hand Solo, who was enjoying a Frito, tunafish, cheese wrap with a scrumptious flavored ranch that we are certainly finding at our next resupply. We also met Bluebird. We tried but we could not convince her to head off to Erwin that night with us. She was impressed by our colorful, yet ridiculous ponchos. When she heard Bambi was getting rid of hers, she jumped on the opportunity.
The remaining 6 miles from the shelter involved a great deal more skywatching, a bit of spitting rain, and a lot of speedy downhill that still didn't ruin Emily's ankle. We pulled into Uncle Johnnys Hostel and chatted with some of the other hikers and booked a room at the mile away motel, Mountain Inn and Suites. When Bambi and Spike got down, they would join us which would make the room (complete with a much touted hot breakfast) not much more expensive than a bed in the hostel. We hiked the mile down to the motel (still through the spitting rain). There was laundry, an immeasurably pleasant dude at the front desk, a wonderful shower head and, the best surprise of all, the mini fridge hadn't been cleaned out so it came stocked with four beers and a half drunk 2 liter of Coke.
When Bambi and Spike arrived, we ordered pizza (which made us feel a little gratuitous given only one night on the trail in between town visits), watched some comedy, did a tiny load of laundry and probably stayed up a bit too late chatting and removing Spike's dangling toenail. We probably should end at least one post with the words dangling toenail.