I woke up feeling terrible. I had started to feel my throat getting sore yesterday so I wasn’t surprised to now have the cold that several people have had. I took some medicine with my breakfast and the fog slowly started to lift. We were planning big miles for the day in order to nero into Buena Vista tomorrow but I didn’t know if I would make it that far.
I got started down the mountain and it was so humid, I felt like I was slogging through the stale air, and was completely soaked in sweat by 9am. Even though time seemed to be standing still, I was actually going at a pretty good pace. I made it out to the James River and the longest footbridge on the AT before Stretch and Storytime.
I had planned on swimming but it was so muddy I almost reconsidered. It was still hot though, and I jumped in. I brought soap but I may have been dirtier coming out than going in. When Stretch and Storytime caught up, they convinced me to do a quick hitch into town and back for pizza for lunch. It was hot standing on the road and there didn’t seem to be much traffic but we still got a hitch after ten minutes. A woman named Lisa actually turned around and came back for us in her nice, clean town car. She dropped us at the restaurant in Glasgow and we found out that the town’s free hiker shelter with hot shower was just behind the place, and that several hikers we knew were there.
I ran around back to say hello and found out that there was a massive storm coming, with “life threatening” winds, etc, predicted between 4:00 and 6:00. Rangers were out at trail heads recommending that hikers come into town and some people were out picking them up too. One of the town churches was going to shelter hikers for the night. We decided to stay in town, despite the weather looking fine and only having hiked 5.4 miles, and make up the big miles tomorrow if Indigo’s mom could slack us to Buena Vista. I found her in the library and made arrangements for her to drop our big packs off there while we hiked there with smaller packs.
Most of the hikers in town were at the library when Jungle Jym got a call from city hall saying that St. John’s Episcopal Church was opening its doors for us. We went over and found it open but no one there. We went in and set up in the rec room any way. Odie went to put a sign up in the shelter for hikers to come there instead and more people started trickling in. It was a very cool setup and we enjoyed being there as it started to rain. We made thank you cards for the church and even had an impromptu concert in the sanctuary by Chief Hike a Trail and Piper.
When the rain let off a little bit, I ran to the laundromat to get laundry started and then took a shower at the shelter. It’s heated by propane and has excellent water pressure, much better than you’d expect of a free outdoor shower. Once laundry was done, it was back to the church to hang out and play cards. Dr. Evil picked up pancake mix and Odie cooked dinner for everyone. Some people from the church stopped by and made us feel even more welcome. It was getting pretty crowded in the rec room so they turned on the air in the sanctuary and said we could sleep in there too. I moved my stuff over because when else would I get to sleep somewhere like that?
Later I had Odie, who is trained as a masseuse, work on my shoulder. It’s still been getting the pinched feeling a lot, despite changing packs, despite using the straps on my poles, and despite switching around the weight distribution and strap tension of my pack. I’m hoping that the massage combined with carrying a small pack tomorrow will give it a rest and make it better. I’m not sure what else to do, aside from not carry a pack, which is not an option.
It ended up not storming as badly as predicted, at least in town. Dr. Evil, who slackpacked today, did not have all his gear when hiking and when the rain started, he got slightly hypothermic. So I guess it was better to stay in town any way and it’s hard to pass up good trail magic like what the church was providing.