Tuesday, July 4, 2017 (Day 62)
I sit on my z-rest, it sits atop a bed of pines. I drink coffee, a pointless gesture. I have not slept since the night before last. My eyes are like porcelain weights: fragile, heavy, glossed over. It is sprinkling. A tent seems like such a fuss. There is a shelter in .8 miles, Pinefield Hut. Shall I just go there, sleep, start fresh? Not worry about pitching a tent. I think so. It would be my first time in a shelter since the Smokies, when it was mandated.
I kept going. I stopped and peered in the direction of the shelter, then chose to push on. There was supposed to be a stream that runs alongside the trail, just after Simmons Gap, and a campsite next to that stream. It is only two more miles or so. My feet dragged a little less.
I arrived at the campsite, gathered some water, was stung by some nettles, and found an easier path back to my things.
I did not consider the potential of rain again until about 1:00 in the morning…when it greeted me.
I am usually forewarned to some degree: a gentle spritzing, a sudden start and stop pulsation. Nope. Nothing this time, but intense and sudden downpour. I reached for my headlamp. For some reason it was not around my neck. I did not remember removing it. The water continued to pour. I could feel my down sleeping bag going limp. I began patting the ground around me in search of light. First steadily, and then more frantically, I touched and pushed and prodded the gear and baggies that were propped about me. I finally located my external battery, which also contains a light. I illuminated the area. Oh my poor bag! I pulled myself outside of it and stuffed it in my pack. I then located my headlamp, affixed it to my head, and began setting up my tent. I succeeded, but awkwardly. It is somewhat lopsided, but keeps the rain out for the most part. All of my things are wet. I replace my clothing with dry ones. The feeling of putting on my freshly laundered wool top is blissful. It was still warm, and slightly electric.
At least these summer storms are never cold.