When I woke up, the rain had finally stopped but I was still in the drizzly clouds. After downing the frosted Honey Bun and sleeve of chocolate donuts that I had purchased yesterday, I made my way back to the Lewis Mountain Campgrounds store for some hot coffee. Apparently, I wasn’t the only person that thought this was a good idea. While there, I met a couple of women who were doing a section hike and they were amazed to discover that my planned lunch stop at Big Meadows Wayside was their final destination (and one of them claimed to be a runner). The same guy from yesterday was running the store this morning, and when I went to pay for my coffee he told me that it was on him. Trail Magic!

The trail was wet and all the views were obliterated, but the profile lacked any of the big climbs that I had to endure yesterday. Still, though, the park was gorgeous. I had already seen several deer in SNP, but this morning one stopped long enough for me to take her picture.

Appalachian Trail

Appalachian Trail

At the Big Meadows Wayside, I met up with Boo Boo and Batman who had already finished one round and were contemplating second lunch. This wayside is an actual sit down and have a waitress take your order kind of place, so they had all the smelly hikers seated on one side and the tourists seated on the other side. While I was looking over the menu, Yogi and Bear Slayer came in and joined the fray. I ended up sticking with my usual and ordered the caesars salad, burger, fries, and blackberry milkshake. It was so cold and rainy outside that no one was in any rush to leave, but eventually we faced the fact that we needed to move on and let the restaurant air out.

Appalachian Trail

Appalachian Trail

As we continued down the trail, so did the rain. By now, my feet had been soaked for two straight days and they were starting to hurt. When we finally arrived at the Rock Spring Hut, I couldn’t wait to get my feet out of my wet socks and let them dry out for a while.

Appalachian Trail

Rock Spring Hut

Appalachian Trail

Rock Spring

Appalachian Trail

Although I have uncharacteristically slept in the huts a couple of times while hiking through Shenandoah National Park, I tend not to get a good night’s sleep (there seems to always be at least one person who snores). So this evening, I have elected to make the steep climb up to one of the designated tent pads to set up camp. Tomorrow we are heading to a hostel in Luray, VA to temporarily escape the rain and get our gear dry.