My prediction was 100% true. The snoring last night was so. Incredibly. Loud. Must bring ear plugs next trip.
This was another long, hard hiking day. It rained hard last night, so the roots and rocks on the trail were slippery this morning.
Here is a picture of the guys eating and coffee-ing in the misty morning air:
The guy in the red shirt above is a high school teacher called Jerry. He was out for a five-day section hike as kind of a test run for a possible thru-hike next year. Super nice guy. He was pretty miserable, though, as far as hiking goes. He said the trail wasn't what he expected, and he probably wouldn't be doing a thru-hike after all. I told him he should wait to make that decision until after he was done with his section hike. Sometimes the actual hiking part can be absolutely torturous but then you get to the end and you're like "wow, it's so cool I lived through that - I'm going to do it again sometime!" As I've mentioned before, it's kind of like childbirth in that way.
I hiked with Jay for the whole day today because I just feel better when we are together. I worried a lot yesterday when he was quite a ways behind me. So today he was stuck with me crowding him from behind. and chattering to him throughout the day. The skies threatened from about noon onward, and it felt like we were barely staying ahead of the rain and thunder.
We had hoped for some great views at the top of Whitetop Mountain, but the fog and clouds were super thick and we couldn't see much. It was also very windy; it felt like the wind might actually fill up our pack covers like sails and carry us off. At one point near the top of Whitetop, Jay stumbled a little bit and I looked up just in time to see him losing his balance, a horrified look on his face as he did what looked like a sashay-dance-move down the windswept slope next to the trail, his trekking poles flailing. Fortunately he caught himself before careening down Buzzard Rock. It would've been terrible if he'd rolled his ankle or something, but because he was just fine, the whole scene was actually pretty entertaining!
About a mile before reaching Lost Mountain Shelter, the clouds opened up and we finally got the rain that had been threatening all day. We got pretty well soaked. When we arrived at the shelter, it was crammed with people (mostly boy scouts), but fortunately the rain let up shortly and we were able to dry out. Matt and Joe decided to stay in the shelter tonight, and Tim and Jay and I are tenting. We're hopeful that the worst of the rain is over.