Saturday, May 25th

We went out for breakfast the next morning. I packed my gear right afterwards, replying to the last of the mail on my personal account. I'd gotten another 25 pieces on my personal account in the last 12 hours. I think it's time to establish an ultra-personal account. It's not hard to get that address, it's on my personal web page. But, hey, if I haven't given you the address, please don't e-mail at anything but Gracias.

I went to the grocery store and bought the basics for two days. I figured that I'd be forced to get to Erwin in two days, if I only had two days worth of food. It made sense at the time, anyhow. It cost $42! I did the math and realised that $15 of that was batteries. I've been going through insane amounts of AA batteries. My digital camera takes 4, my headlamp takes 3, my cellphone 6. All in all, I go through about 12 a week. But I digress. I bought stuff and Wingfoot took me back to Allen Gap. It looked like rain, but the forcast said there was only a 20% chance of rain for the next 5 days. I figure that meant it would rain for one day...right? Wingfoot and I said goodbye, and he made me promise to return later, after my thru-hike, to help setup his website.

It began to rain before long, a little before I got to Little Laurel Shelter. I found a bunch of dayhikers there, along with Pack Mule, Empress and Snail No More.

Pack Mule is in, oh, maybe his late 60s, early 70s. He walks slowly, slightly hunched, white-haired with a scraggly beard. He does amazingly low milage, 5 to 8 miles a day. He plans on taking two years to complete his hike. I was hoping to interview the guy, or at least talk to him, but there's a problem -- he's deaf as a doornail. He can still speak well, but has lost enough of his hearing that he just doesn't seem to know what I'm saying. He seems like an awfully nice guy.

It soon began to pour, and so I decided to stay right there, at Little Laurel Shelter. Sleeping space would be tight, but, as the saying goes, there's always room in the shelter when it's raining. Another fellow, a section-hiker, showed up after me, but he decided he'd rather weather things in his tent. Empress' Barbie lay in the firepit, ash-coated and soaking. I downed a double-Lipton supper and some pudding for good measure. We all stayed up late, until midnight or so, talking. We were packed like sardines, to the point where when one of us turned, we all had to turn. I hardly slept, but, for some reason, I didn't mind and didn't feel tired them or the next day.

Miles Today: 7.5 Song Stuck in my Head Today: Mozart, "Magic Flute", various parts.

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