It has been raining on me for the past two days (another inch fell last night), and in spite of my best efforts, everything I own is damp. So, I’m sitting in my tent and I’ve got water about to boil for making breakfast. In anticipation of a hot beverage, I’m shaking down a packet of Swiss Miss prior to ripping off the top, when I discover that there is a big hole in the bottom of the packet. In an instant, there is a coating of chocolate powder settling on everything inside my tent that immediately turns into chocolate paste. The struggle out here is real, folks! I’m seriously considering changing my trail name to the Chocolate Covered Backpacker.

Following the Great Swiss Miss Disaster of 2017 (did Jennifer Pharr Davis have to deal with this?), I packed up and hit the trail. It is still raining, and the A.T. Guide shows only one climb, with moderately easy trail after that, and no views. So I do what every self respecting thru-hiker would do. I put my head down and try to crush miles.

Because of all the rain, the forest seems to be turning green right before my eyes. Having experienced brown for so many weeks, the transition is sometimes startling. Stopping to take pictures is not exactly conducive to crushing miles, but sometimes I just can’t help myself.

Appalachian Trail

Green is the New Brown

Appalachian Trail

So Green it Hurts My Eyes

Appalachian Trail

Spring is Around the Corner

Appalachian Trail

Even the Bridge is Green

Appalachian Trail

Yet Another Rhododendron Tunnel

After about 10 miles, I ducked into the Trimpi Shelter where I joined Flat Tire and Terminator for a late lunch. Yesterday, I stopped at the top of a mountain to check for a cell signal and must have looked a bit disoriented. Flat Tire came up behind me and asked is I was OK. I responded that I was, and that I was just checking my text messages. Later that evening, I saw that he was camped near me and I thanked him for checking on me. He said, “Thru-hikers need to look out for one another.” I responded by saying, “True. But most of them wouldn’t have bothered, and I appreciate it that you took the time.” Flat Tire dropped out of Law School at the University of Ohio to hike the trail. Terminator is the only person from Australia that I have met on the trail.

Appalachian Trail

Trimpi Shelter Before the Storm

Anyway, I digress. While we were eating lunch, the bottom fell out of the sky dumping a ton of rain. We hung around for about 45 minutes waiting for the weather to clear, and then set out hiking again. From that point forward, the trail reminded me of the Damascus Highway, and the miles flew by until I arrived at the Partnership Shelter around 5:30 pm.

Appalachian Trail

Crushing Miles

The Partnership Shelter is somewhat famous in trail circles because you can actually have pizza delivered there from Marion, VA. However, there is a $30 minimum order plus a $5 delivery fee. Still, hot pizza delivered to a shelter! How cool is that?

Having had enough of the rain, I used the phone at the Mount Rogers Visitors Center (no cell signal) to order a cab instead of a pizza. I shared the cab ride to Marion with another hiker and I’m now safely ensconced at the local EconoLodge. The weather forecast doesn’t show any improvement in the future (when did the Weather Channel stop showing the weather?), so I will spend the evening trying to get the chocolate off of my possessions, and deciding on a plan of action for tomorrow.