Miles Today: 7.7
Mile Marker: 869.6 Calf Mountain Shelter
We started this morning by going back to Weasies for breakfast. Only Walkman, Salty Camel, and I were heading back out to the trail. Hamilton, Rocket, Cash, and Songbird joined us though. After breakfast the three of us said goodbye to the rest of the group and caught a ride back to the trail. Songbird has been having foot pain, so she and Cash headed to the doctor. Hamilton and Rocket went to the outfitter to check out shoes.
I really wanted to zero again today. The forecast looked dismal, and I wasn't particularly excited about getting back on the trail. By now I know the more time off I take, the harder it is to get going. It was time to go back, even if I didn't want to. Hiking started out slowly as everything was wet. Shortly into the day I lost my footing on a slick rock and flopped down hard on my butt. Both of my feet flew out in front of me like a cartoon as I went down. If I had slid another few inches forward I would have landed squarely on a jagged rock. Luckily I was only slightly scratched up instead.
At 1:00 I walked down the side trail to meet up with Walkman and Salty at the shelter. Walkman is getting off trail on Friday for a week for his high school graduation. He managed to convince his superintendent the trail would be an excellent learning experience for his last semester. Since he had enough credits to graduate already, it was approved so long as he attends graduation. He only has to do short days until Friday when he meets his family at a wayside in the Shenandoahs. Salty is hiking ahead to meet up with his Mom for a day on the trail. I couldn't decide what I wanted to do, so I had some lunch while I figured things out.
After checking the map and the forecast, I decided to stay. The Shenandoahs have similar camping restrictions to the Smokies, and the next shelter is 13 miles away. The forecast for rain also went to 100% at 4:00. Hiking in a downpour late into the evening didn't sound all that great. A short day seemed like the right call.