Day 20 – Hampton

Occasionally I will get up earlier than is probably healthy in order to plan my day around a town or post office. Today was one of those days. I walked out of the Kincora hostel and into the forests under the power of my headlamp. The trail was rugged and slippery from the rain for the first couple miles and even had a section cut into a sheer rock face. It was not the best section to be traveling in the dark. After 8 miles I made it to highway 321 and made my way into Hampton Tennessee for my resupply box. This box was especially important because it has new shoes as well as a functioning watch. Yes my shoes failed in less than 20 days. This pair may have had a defect due to a chunk falling off the side of them somewhere in the smokey mountains. By planning and how the resupply worked out I walked 150 miles with a hole in the side of my shoe. Once my pack was packed with new food and gear and after I sent home a few items I was back on the trail. The sun was out and I was moving well. I have almost hit the magical 3 week mark where your body has adjusted to walking every day. The first signs of bad weather showed as I cleared Vandevelter shelter on top of the ridge as I felt the strong wind coming on. This is when I prepared for the worst and readied my rain/storm gear. This planning proved essential as a massive black cloud closed in and finally engulfed the ridges I was walking on. With the cloud came sheets of rain. I kept what I could dry and just kept pushing on. In its true fashion, the clouds broke after an hour of rain and the sun shown again. Another wardrobe change and I had all my wet clothes drying off the back of my pack. This period of sunshine actually felt extremely warm and probably hit the 60s. I took a break, ate a snickers and rehydrated beans to eat with a handful of chips. I would need to stay full to reach my goal of 32 miles on top of a town day. Once back walking again, as suddenly as it came, the good weather disappeared and I was left scrambling to prepare for the heavy winds and rain later followed by hail. With only 1 mile left to my final destination for the day the temperature dropped, the fog rolled in and the snow started. It is going to be a cold night. I didn’t buy fuel in town as I didn’t like what they were selling so I am eating cold food tonight. I should hit Damascus Virginia for lunch tomorrow. Hopefully it doesn’t snow too much tonight