The Norovirus is traveling north with us hikers as we contaminate every shelter, hostel, hotel, motel, buffet, and Dollar General along the way. I thought I had this thing beat after being exposed to it in a shelter from two different afflicted hikers – one just 2 sleeping bags away from me. I thought I had it beat after getting through the Smokies where the weather forced us into overpopulated shelters. But, it caught up with me 3 days out of Erwin, TN on a mountain top 2 days from town. And it wasn’t that bad. Beat that sumbitch in 14 hours and hiked 15 miles the next day on an empty stomach and dehydrated. Suck it, Norovirus!
Aside from the “Hiker Plague”, the walking’s been pretty darn swell. I hung out at Laurel Falls while eating my candy-bar burrito (it’s a candy bar and a generous helping of peanut butter wrapped in a tortilla). I climbed Unaka Mountain and reveled in the pine forest up top that sheltered me from the rain and wind. I kept my beer cold in the Nolichucky River while strumming a guitar and singing songs at Uncle Johnny’s hiker hostel. I was able to witness the cloud surrounding me atop Big Bald move on to allow me a grand view of the towns below and the neighboring ranges. And just yesterday I walked 26 miles to get to the town of Damscus just across the Virginia border. That’s right, I’m in my home-state now. Boo yea!
I started writing a song the other night when I was weathering out a storm in my tent. Maybe it’ll make the cut.
Miss you all!