The rain is supposed to continue today, but, since we woke up in a home, no panic! The breakfast Tina made for us and the other hikers at 7 AM was stupendous. It rivaled that of Mountain Harbor B&B which some have called not only the best breakfast on the trail, but the best they've ever had. The entire table of hikers went so silent while eating that Tina was afraid something horrible had happened. Fresh fruit, cheesy grits, black currant French toast with honey from her own bees, cheese scones, cookies, spinach egg casserole, and rice pudding. We gorged.
Most of the hikers quickly headed out to the trail, but we stayed behind with Bambi and Spitfire. Bambi found some shoe goo in the hiker's box. We all needed shoe repair for some delamination (REI has said that a shoe's lifetime is 300 miles, seven pairs of shoes in 5 or 6 months is too much). As it takes two hours for the glue to set, we had to wait at least that long and gladly we did.
While waiting, Tina gave us some important advice about fundraising (basically, if you're talking about your cause it never hurts to just straight up ask for a donation). She also let us use her personal computer to update our website since our app only lets us do blog editing. We can't thank her enough for all her help, for her hospitality and help with our fundraising. Way above and beyond. We wanna be Tina when we grow up.
After Spitfire and Bambi did some serious shakedown (more pounds lost!), we headed out to the trail head via Tina's van (with Haselnuss as a companion of course). We bid Tina a fond farewell (promised that Tyler could share new project ideas with Brett). After climbing over our second of many short ladders of barbed wire, about fifteen minutes into the hike, the rain started. We wanted to get about fourteen miles, up to Chestnut Knob Shelter.
At around two, we stopped at an early shelter for lunch. The rain was still pretty light at this point. At the shelter, we found Duck Fart and, surprise, Monty who was speaking French with Red Eye. They were all headed to Chestnut Knob Shelter tonight so we would once again get a chance to hang with Monty and finally hang with Duck Fart for more than a weird trail hello. The other big discovery at lunch was that if Bambi combines a ton of different foods she doesn't like, she can make a super delicious super sandwich, that is a tortilla base, mayo, tuna, pepporoni, ranch, and cheese wiz. Yup, sounds kinda gross. But she was psyched. After that, we headed out for our two thousand foot climb to Chestnut Knob.
The climb went on and on and the further up we went the worse the rain got. A few miles from the shelter, as we should have known, we hit bald areas. On the balds, the wind, which had previously been quiet, started up violently. Our boots, which had been merely damp, became fully saturated. The squish squish was back. We laughed out mad laughs and sobbed our sad sobs, and eventually made it to the shelter with more water on our shoes and clothes than in our bottles.
The shelter was fully enclosed, even with a door! And a fireplace (see photo for detail) We were the last ones there, so all the bunks were taken, but, in weather like this, everyone is very accommodating. So we moved gear and the picnic table and set up on the floor. Hanging with Monty, Duckfart, and Spitfire was grand. Basically, everyone from the histekninbthe morning was there too - Torch, Medicine Man, and Uncle Puck. Spitfire even got Jose on live stream. We drank warm soothing tea from Bambi, ate cheesy pasta, and slept fairly soundly on the floor.