Day 72 (15.3 miles)

The night was interesting with the kids going to bed at around 10pm and me trying to figure out how to be quiet at 7AM! We were lying side by side like sardines but all was well. You could see lightening off in the distance before drifting to sleep. Sometime during the night one of the boys joined in with the frog musical and began snoring musically. Sounds of dissatisfaction could be heard all around me various times during the night. I sorta giggled at them because they have it for four more days! It was a weird sounding snore so it really didn’t bother me that much and off I drifted again.

JJ and the early riser with me, another American-Asian boy, came up the hill from their breakfast to tell me good bye, I thought it was sweet. I passed several NOBO section hikers. Three of them had head nets like mine! What a lifesaver from webs and gnats and flies! I ran across a chipmunk and a couple deer and saw LOTS of bear scat! Deer are just fine for me! All of a sudden as I was descending a mountain I hear what sounded like large limbs from fallen trees snapping and cracking as if two junior sized cubs were playing amongst them. Creeping very slowly down the hill I would look as far as I could and stop when the noise stopped, it started and my creeping did too, I wanted it to be someone weed whacking but there was no motor to be heard when finally I smelled it.. freshly cut grass smell. I tried not to scare the guy using an ELECTRIC weed eater coming up behind him but I did, I thanked him for clearing the path and went on my way relieved that there were no bears!

I stopped at Elkwallow Wayside, a place right off the trail for some food. There I met Monk Hood so named by his students at Georgetown who was on a section hike. Apparently he got carried away talking about the blue flower of the same name and the students were like…”yeah yeah we get it already”. Jersey came over and talked to me for awhile until his wife and grandkids came to drag him away, he had thru hiked last year. I was on my way and it wasn’t long before I heard thunder, I hoped it was going to wear itself out before it got to me but I had about 2.7 miles left to go and the skies opened up. The thunder was coming from behind me and I prayed and talk to it to stay that way knowing that the worse would be behind me and the welcoming rain would cool me down. I had already stopped and but my rainfly on my pack, rain pants on to protect my phone, and get the number of a hostel close by. I hadn’t planned on stopping but my ankle was hurting pretty bad so I thought I could use some ice, so back to town I went; Luray, VA this time.

The hostel resembles more of a cat lady home. She and her son are in a local play so they went to rehearsal. I talked with a girl staying here enroute to Asheville to visit friends. When she leaves her apartment in Harrisburg, PA, she rents it out on Air B&B. I did get to soak my feet in Epsons salt and ice my ankles, feet and knees but they still hurt. I am hoping I can still make good miles tomorrow to Big Meadows Campground where I stayed many years ago. If my ankle gets more bruised I may take a zero and let them both rest for a day. We will see. It’s getting really late so off to bed I go! Good Night and Sweet Dreams!

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