Last night it poured a lot more and we were woken up at 12:30am by the outfitter owners returning. The James River was way up and they had to go rescue a group of 25 boy scouts so they were giving us a two hour warning for when they’d be back. We had to move our stuff out of the way any way so we decided to just move to the park next door so as not to be woken again when the scouts returned and were hyperactive from the thrill of being evacuated in the middle of the night.

We got set up in the park behind the gazebo so as to be stealthy and tried to get back to sleep. Then the train went by right across the river, and it was so close it sounded like it was going to run us over. Then the church bells across the street started tolling the hour. We just couldn’t win.

We witnessed for ourselves this morning how high the river had gotten. It was at least 20 feet closer to us than it had been last night and it was flowing very fast, with all kinds of debris going down it. It was finally sunny with fairly clear skies though so we grabbed breakfast and hitched back to the trail. The hitch took forever (20-30 minutes) because there aren’t that many people headed to a scenic byway on a weekday at midmorning. Also we had four people; we should have split into twos. Two ladies named Jackie and Cindy stopped and told us they’d be back for us as soon as they dropped their dogs off though so we were back on the trail at 11:00.

Outside Dog is still recovering from stress fractures in his foot so he decided to hitch up the parkway and zero at a shelter so he can meet us tomorrow. Stretch and Storytime and I got started. There was lots of climbing and I went over several mountains in 15.3 miles today: Cove Mountain, Little Cove Mountain, Fork Mountain, and Floyd Mountain.

At the first shelter, Stretch noticed a note in the register for me from Green Thunder: he had my Platypus. I was confused because I had both of my water bottles and I would never pack my water filter without both of the bladders. I assumed he had someone else’s water bottle and just thought it was mine. A few miles later I went to filter water and discovered that although I would never pack my water filter without both bladders, I would leave the whole thing behind at a shelter. Oops. That’s the first thing I’ve left behind on the trail but it’s kind of an important item, not to mention expensive. The note was from today though so I felt sure I could catch him.

We stopped at the swimming hole at Jennings Creek for lunch and ran into Cocoon, Embers, and Big Bear again. I also found out that I was only a few miles behind Green Thunder from some other warrior hikers that were there. I got going up the hill after eating and found him at the next shelter. Filter returned! I ate dinner there and then got moving up the really big hill of the day, finally making it to Cornelius Creek Shelter just after 8:00. I have my tent set up so I’m hoping to catch up on sleep tonight.