08 September 2016

Rocky Campsite to Wapiti Shelter (AT Day 7, Fall 2016)

Appalachian Trail, 10.6 miles

A lovely, lovely day. Partly because I know that tomorrow I'll be done. Feet held up better than I expected. I tied my boots a little differently today, got a little more creative with my moleskin on my heels, and kept a steady drip of Advil going, for the sake of my knee. I think I will have just enough to get through the day tomorrow, with exactly zero tablets to spare.

Both of my big toes look really weird and are kind of puffed up, under the nails. The left is worse than the right. I can feel a lot of tenderness under the nails, so I know there is some kind of injury or blistering going on, but I can't really see it. The good news is, usually after resting all night, things kind of look and feel closer to normal, so probably everything will be fine. I doubt I will lose the nails.

(Edited to add: Both nails fell off several weeks after my trip. Left one went on October 30, the right one on November 23. Luckily, there's plenty of time for them to grow back by the time flip-flop season gets here!)

I crossed a cool suspension bridge over a wide creek today.. It was kind of freaky because it swayed a lot when I was on it. The bridge was long, but only wide enough for one person. And oddly, as soon as I stepped onto it, I looked up and saw another hiker (southbounder) stepping on from the other side. He was the only person I saw all day. He stepped back off and let me pass. It was funny that we ran into each other at the only point of the trail where we could actually create a traffic jam, on that bridge.

I am staying at Wapiti Shelter tonight. Apparently a murder happened here a long time ago, according to the shelter log. Luckily there's no cell signal here, so I can't google it till after I get home in a couple days. It's really just better not to know. On the up side, it's a great place as far as shelters go. Water nearby, a privy, plenty of great trees to hang a hammock. Which is what I'm opting to do instead of sleeping in the shelter. I really need to keep my feet elevated again tonight, in an effort to coax my toenails into staying intact. I actually really like this spot. It is a good place to rest and think and be grateful.

There is a beautiful cold stream here, where I had a little time to soak my feet and meditate for a little while, until a crayfish touched my toe. I was sitting there all peaceful-like, enjoying the quite sounds of the water, and then I felt something brush my foot and looked down to see a crayfish claw about to clamp down, and kicked that thing so hard I nearly dislocated my ankle.

Something is wrong with my water filter. It has become very hard to pump. Luckily I was able to get my water bottles all filled up for tomorrow, so no worries. I'll have to take the filter apart when I get home and figure out what's up. It must need a new cartridge or a new bulb or something. I'm half wondering if it's just ready to move it on to the water-filter graveyard. It's old and tired and has served me well. I might end up getting one of those hipster Sawyer models. That seems to be what all the thru-hikers are using these days.

I have a big two-and-a-half mile steep climb in the morning, then it looks to be a fairly moderate 5 more miles or so to Woods Hole. I can't wait to shower.

Edited at 8:30pm to add: Three southbound thru-hikers showed up after I had eaten dinner. They are sleeping in the shelter. I'm glad for the company, especially because I'm still slightly creeped out by the murder stories in the shelter log.

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