When I woke up this morning my tent was full of condensation. Annoying. Not unusual for a single wall tent but it meant that I was going to sleep in a bit and wait for the sun to come out and dry the tent before packing it up. I gave up waiting. This meant I got a fairly late start as I didn’t get up at first light but much later. No big though. The trail notes for today say 11 hours and no way am I walking for that long at any rate so I’ll just camp earlier or something.
A mobile espresso rig has set up in the campground and I go partake. Yum. I still need breakfast though. After I finish packing I roll into town and stop at four square to grab a soda and a fruity yogurt. I hang out and eat it while reading the local paper and putting a bit more juice into my phone and battery. Oh, I didn’t finish yesterday’s entry, but, my kindle. It’s dead. I tossed it in the bin. Super sad. Which is why I’m reading the paper.
Walking through town I watch the guy selling nuts and used books getting set up so I take another look through his collection. A few things catch my eye but I settle on Genghis Khan by John Man. I have fond memories of the Hardcore History piece on Khan, and it seems like a fairly dense (from a words per gram perspective) book, so $2 poorer and a book richer.
I figure if nothing else it’ll be cheap toilet paper. Badum-ching.
Anywho I keep walking. Past some tourist stuff, I drop the rest of my small change into a donation jar (gotta save grams) and keep walking. And walking.
I’m on a long gravel road to where the trail leaves the road. Eventually I come across some workers who are using a big plow to grade the road. Awesome! They leave a nice smooth spot for me and my feet thank them.
Eventually I get to the point of no return, or at least the point of “no water past here”. I walk down to the lake to fill up for the section ahead and there are a couple of folks kayaking in the lake. I chat with them a bit while filtering my water, feeling slightly bad that I crashed their party, but really, water. I need it.
The next section is super super super boring. The only interesting part was that it was EXTREMELY windy. Like far windier than the strong headwind bike day. It’s coming across me and so my backpack is like a sail and I keep getting shoved out of the track. To give you an idea of how windy, here’s my hat.
After what feels like forever I make the turn to go north along the mountains. Directly into the wind. Slow going but I wasn’t in a hurry. I wasn’t planning to make it to Camp Stream Hut anyways.
There were some really neat effects because of this. Dust was being kicked up and hazing the sky. Localized rain over the lake being blasted by the wind. Pretty.
My destination was the Coal River. I knew I would have water there and if I could camp there, let’s do it. Well, I got there. Then realized the hut was probably an hour farther. So I went for it. The difference this time is I went expecting to not have a bed. I arrived. Surprisingly, there’s a bed, despite the tents outside. Some people just don’t want to pay the $10 to sleep in a bed I guess. My gain.
Chatted with some French southbounders and a section hiker heading north, ate some dinner, and now heading to bed with Khan, just like old days.
Tomorrow is probably going to be a sleep in, short day. But I haven’t looked. I honestly don’t really care. In my trail notes this is day 31, so I’m 5 days ahead of trail time with only 2 unplanned zero days so far. I have plenty of food and will likely be hitching out to get around the coming river (it’s supposed to rain) so there will be an opportunity for at least a snack fill to add some extra food if I need. Feeling pretty good. Tired, especially after 3 days off my feet followed by a long day, but feeling pretty accomplished and content.