Thursday, July 6, 2017 (Day 64)
I began my hike in late morning. I stepped out of my tent but for a moment before a very heavy and substantial branch fell from the trunk of a tree. It was not far from me, or the trail. It landed with a great “thud”. I looked around me. In the day light, the site I selected looked somewhat hazardous. Creaking trees and loose limbs, half bent arms, dead and snapping at their hollow joints; branch upon branch, stacked and fraying on the ground.
After about nine miles I came to Lewis Mountain Campround. It had a camp store. I was eager to use their power outlets. My phone was not charging from my external power bank, I hoped an outlet would prove more successful–no luck. Something was internally fried. My phone died, with no means to revive it. I sighed for the daily photos.
I sat on the bench and drank coffee. More hikers arrived. It began to downpour. The shop was closing soon. One hiker jested with the manager “you don’t have a spare cabin you wanna donate to some hikers, do you?” He smiled, “As a matter of fact…” He left and returned with keys to the bunkhouse.
Three of us in a four bunk cabin, with a porch. We sat under the overhang and drank cold beer out of glass bottles and shared broken Pringles from a cardboard cylander and watched the rain.
We spoke of the trail. One hiker was getting off. They had hurt their knee. Their family would be picking them up in the next couple of days.
The other hiker was considering an early finish, getting off in Harper’s Ferry. They were uncertain of their decision. I encouraged them to stay.
I used one of their phones to order a replacement battery for mine; sent to Loray, VA. I was given the torn-out pages of an AWOL guidebook so that I would know the way points and water sources leading to Loray. Without my phone I won’t know exact mileage, but with the listed way points I’ll have a close idea.
I slept on a vinyl covered upper-bunk. Rain was thrumming heavily outside the window.
Though something inside of me was moving slowly; though my daily mileage had reached its lowest point on one of the easiest portions of the trail; though I seemed to be in the “death” portion of the “life, death, rebirth” cycle which effects all things in existence…I could never imagine leaving the trail.