Day 69 (11.2 miles)

Two days later and my boots are still wet, at least it’s not soaking my socks. I need to wear those stinky things one more day until I can get to a laundry mat or Hostel. I heard a loud boom in the night, sounded like a gun shot, but heard no noise outside so fell back asleep. I was glad I wasn’t by myself. I had to say goodbye to Matt and Jeremiah (who I have dubbed Flying Squirrel for his acrobatic jump over the snake and that he is fascinated with them.) The trail had its share of ups and downs; I made pretty good time considering the day before while in the Roller Coaster.

I came along several day hikers, remember they smell good, some of them Asian. The older ladies enjoyed talking with me and burst into their language once, probably saying “ the red faced old lady must be crazy!”. I ran into the Asian males and they gave me the stats to this shelter, the Jim and Molly Denton Shelter.

I met Smeed, Jason, and Alarm at the road where you park to hike the trail. I joined two of them at the picnic table for lunch as Sneed explained that he got kicked out of his house for a few days. His sister is getting married and his wife was in charge of the bachelorette weekend party so he needed to be someplace else deciding to get two buddies and hike for a couple of days. Alarm showed up and yes he got his name because alarms don’t phase him and he’s always late. Smeed gave me some pop tarts and Cliff Bars and I was on my way. I was happy for that because my breakfast and snack foods will be gone in the morning. They soon passed me. I arrived at the shelter before my calculated time; I love it when it just appears and me not expecting it so soon. Matt hated leaving today because he wanted to stay here at this shelter for one night too. It is the most wonderful shelter compared to the others. The privy is so clean and not too bad smelling, the shelter is surrounded by grass and best of all it has an outside spring shower!

On the porch, yes porch, are some relaxing chairs. I laid my stuff out on one of the shelter platforms and ran to take my shower to cool off. It has three sides and this was once that I was glad I was alone. They say it is solar heated but that may have lasted 2 seconds but I didn’t care, man was it refreshing! I washed out a couple smelly things and laid them on the railing to dry along with my stinky shoes, socks, and sweaty pants and shirt hoping the sun would help… nope. About 30 minutes later a kid who just graduated from Villanova sat down for a snack. He is meeting his parents in Maine to vacation around the coast; he is looking forward to it. After he left, Gary from Alexandria, VA, showed up for the night. That always makes me feel better. He is tenting with his brand new REI tent, and after getting bit by mosquitos and the fact that the air was blowing from behind the Shelter, I moved my stuff to my tent too.

I forgot it had gotten wet in the thunderstorm sitting in the bottom of my bag, so it got aired out and dried good. I left half of the rainfly off hoping to see some stars later, I will cover the tent before I fall asleep so everything won’t get wet with condensation. I saw several deer again today ( if that’s all I see I will be happy!) Another guy has showed up, not a thru hiker, I could smell. He strung his hammock, took a cold shower and is now eating. Gary has been talking to his wife and texting since he arrived. He wants to attempt the trail when he turns 60 in about 5 years, so he has been hiking as much as he can. He also just passed by my tent after a refreshing very cold shower.

He has one of those noisy sleep pads so I am glad there’s a little distance between us. From the Roller Coaster to here I realized we are on the flight path for Dulles departures. You can hear them all the time. Of course they quit later and the crickets and frogs drown out the occasional one with their lullaby. The sunset is gorgeous but would not make a very good picture, it seems I have been in the interior of these mountains all along, so it’s just pretty red sky through the trees that I see. I will try to stay awake for the star show but I am pretty beat! Good Night and Sweet Dreams!

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