Conditions: Cold last night (I’m above 4000 and 1 mile from “the wettest place on the eastern US w/ 93″ annually”. High 40’s now (8am). Sunny skies. Looks like it’ll be a great day!

Meals 4th: B: Power Bar, L: Snickers, almonds and Greenbriar shoots (along the trail) D: spam single, Idahoan mash potatoes, oyster crackers, Snickers

Daily Events:
4th: Last night was cold. I had on everything I could wear, but the problem was the quilt. Due to my expert sewing skills I made both too short and narrow. I hike it up to my neck, my feet stick out. I shift on my side and bend a bit and my butt is hanging out. The one and only position I can be warm in is flopped on my stomach, arms down to my sided and face dug into the air mattress. I believe it’s time to ace my beloved quilt and get to the outfitters in Franklin for a synthetic-filled sleeping bag. Despite the drafty night, it was a new day with sun-lit skies. The trailside views were spectacular looking down onto the clouds like waves rocking against the mountain range.

The climb up Albert Mountain was about a 30-45 degree angle for 500 feet up log steps and rock like a Stair Master machine on steroids. Quads and calves pumped, I made it into the rocky clearing on top and found a water research tower on top with 360 views. I hope this video clip captures even a part of how impressive it was.

Plus, I had a hint of cell reception.
The rest of the day was a wet decent. I picked up two nice size blisters on the piggy toes and a tweaked tendon in my right heel. It’s impossible to keep dry feet in shoes here, so I switched out to my Walmart camp sandles. Man! What a difference! I now have happy feet. No heel pain, my piggies are free to air out, … this is so much better. I’ll look for hiking sandles in town.
I called to town and they don’t shuttle. Hmm. It’s 11 miles away. Now what? It’s 28 miles to the next town down the trail, or walk the highway tomorrow. This sure puts a damper on things. I made camp just passed Winding Stairs Gap and fought my quilt in indecision.
5th: I started down the trail, but it hit me that I’m not here to rush. I want to chill and savor the moment rather than race the day hikers. I u-turn and hit the highway. A man picked me up and took me into town despite my “earthy smells”. I hit the ATM down the road to pay the motel fee with cash (cheaper), and ran into a Jehovah’s Witness on the way. He stopped to talk, got a whiff of me down wind (the expression was priceless), and quickly moved on. Poor guy. Now I’m here for two nights at The Sapphire Inn showered, with clean clothes and feasting in the luxury of a king-size bed. So nice.

Gear: hiking sandals, and a 30 or 40 degree sleeping bag needed. Walmart sandals rock!