Sunday, July 29, 2007

Hike: Siler Bald Shelter

5/1/98--Siler Bald Shelter, 110.5 miles

Woke up to pain-free feet and couldn't quite believe it, but here I am at the end of the day and they're still okay. I've got the right one kind of propped, but at no point today was it ever affecting my stride. Fingers still crossed....

The morning was spent on final town chores--a small resupply at Ingles while the Fantastic 4 hit the post office. We met the Rock Gap Trail Angel--he'd left us oranges in the spring--and he gave Cheerios a lift back to the Trail while we opted for lunch in town. We caught a ride without even lifting a thumb--a local hiker, Skunk Cabbage, saw us getting ready to hitch and called across the street to offer us one. How could we refuse? So we piled into the back of the truck and had a glorious, sunny ride back to Winding Stair Gap.

The sky has been playing whimsical games with us all day--clear and blue with cumulus clouds that give way to intervals of overcast showers, then quickly turn sunny again.

I realize that I haven't said much about the chafing of camp life--living so closely and so temporarily with strangers. I've had the semi-permanence of traveling with the Fantastic Four to insulate me from it to some extent, and then, writing for a public venue, I don't want to offend any hikers who might read these thoughts but it's not always clear how to avoid or resolve conflicts when they come up. I was bothered by someone's language tonight and it made me realize I've been more likely to retreat from uncomfortable situations than to confront them and I don't know that I handled it as well as I would have liked. --M.C.

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