Friday, July 14, 2017 (Day 72)
I rose at a reasonable hour. I was brewing my coffee and began to power on my phone to review the next stretch of trail. It would not turn on. I fiddled and fussed and changed batteries and confirmed their charge…but nothing; nothing but a strange rebooting screen, and eventually no response at all. Oh, technology. By the time I gave up, it was past 10 am. I began hiking.
I sat by a stream, uncertain of my location. I guessed it was somewhere around mile 1,000. Because I did not have the waypoints, I determined it best to stop and drink from each water source and have at least half a liter on hand.
The sounds of the local radio stations played in my ears, picked up by my tiny FM radio. The weather report spoke of thunderstorms and heavy gusts and rainfall that afternoon.
I drank fruit flavored vitamin and caffeine enhanced powder, dissolved in stream water in my nalgene. It tastes fake, but somewhat pleasing. I pretend it is real juice. I continue.
Oh, classical music! How you thrill my soul. Such a brilliant pairing with the weaving trail and towering trees and all the shades of green and the golden glow of the sun.
It is 2:15 pm. The sky shakes. There is a pregnant rumbling in the distance. I still see blue in the sky. I hold out hope.
At around 3 pm it began. The rain was heavy. Just then, I passed a trail junction to a shelter. I decided to briefly duck for cover. It was not long before the storm passed.
I collected water from the nearby stream, but it was so brown I returned it to the earth.
I pressed on and soon reached Bear’s Den hostel. They were very welcoming. I showered and used the computer to try to order a phone. The transaction failed. I decided I would just head in to D.C., purchase one, and hopefully be done with any distractions of the technological sort.
It was late when I hiked on from the hostel. I did not make it far. At the parking area just after Snickers Gap, I sat beneath the trailhead sign. I eventually curled up and rested my head against my pack and dozed off. I woke up and realized that I did not wish to hike any further. I moved my things to a flat space at the far end of the dirt parking area and went to sleep for the night.