It was an easy drive down, only about 10 hours including stops. One of those stops was at a Wal Mart about an hour north of here. I never shop there, honest. But today I made an exception because as I was driving (which affords much time for ruminating about my gear), I realized that the rope I brought for bear-bagging my food is really substandard. It is too thick and too short. It's also a very dark maroon color, which makes it hard to find in the dark when everything around you blends into one big palette of earth-tones. I had meant to buy a better rope before I left home, but that task never made it to the top of my to-do list. At the time, I figured in a pinch I could make do with what I had. But now that the reality of this trip has fully set in, I made a panic-stop at the Wytheville Wal Mart when I realized it would probably be the last retail opportunity I would see before hitting the trail. I found a longer, lighter, stronger, neon-orange nylon rope. I probably would have paid fifty bucks for it if I had to! It was only like three dollars.
I also picked up a fleece for ten bucks, which was another panic-induced purchase. During my drive I started fretting that the nighttime temps are going to be colder than I anticipated, and we all know how much I hate being cold at night. So now, for better or for worse, I have an additional layer (and additional 5 ounces or so to add to my pack, dang it.)
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