Zero day! I Slept until about 8am after a middle of the night freak out about a possible tick on my ankle (answer: not a tick). I had breakfast with the section hiker and Cynthia standing around fighting about healthcare systems. Cynthia kept giving the section hiker a piece of her mind when he said something idiotic about Obamacare. it was both enjoyable and more politics than I care to experience during breakfast.
The day consisted of long stretches of blog zombie-ing. A trip to the grocery store in town that I should have skipped because I lost over two hours of blogging time. It would have been a shorter trip but Jeff decided to take us on a cool but fundatory tour of the cheoah river complete with a footbridge:
Apparently the day we went by they had done a “dam release” which meant that kayakers were clamoring to head out into churning waters. there isn’t a kayaker in this video but you can get a sense of what the crazy people were in for.
The detour meant more winding roads and a very unfortunate amount of car sickness for me. I was green by the time we pulled in the driveway and it was noon. I went to my room and got straight to blogging. Around 2, I made myself kale salad with avocado and a leftover piece of sausage from the morning. After eating i sat and fussed over my timing for the smokies which has changed because one of the shelters I intended to use is closed because of an aggressive bear. I’m now going to be in the smokies for a day longer which means I don’t have quite enough food. I beat myself up for not figuring this out before having gone to the store. I called my mom and had a minor meltdown while trying to talk to her and organize my food at the same time. I think I also haven’t really spoken to anyone other than Oakland since the fatality on Tuesday and hearing my mom’s voice made me want to cry about it. For better or worse, I didn’t do that, but I did almost cry about the Smokies logistical hiccup and having to carry a heavier bag. Here are two happy dogs to distract everyone from my emotional wobbling (also the “tiling” of images is only possible because I’m on a library computer! Sadly can’t figure out how to do this on my phone):
I decided to give myself a break from planning and get in the hot tub for a few minutes. This came with a loaner bathing suit that was the most awful and most feminine thing I’ve worn in a VERY long time. I should have just used my spandex and sports bra but I didn’t feel like having to dry them again and I didn’t want to degrade the tick spray on my shorts. When I came out of the bathroom, I remarked absentmindedly to Jeff that I was now in drag. He heard me and didn’t understand what I meant. I heard him in the laundry room saying “drag? Now why would you say you’re in drag?” I poked my head around the door and said well, I don’t really identify as female. He then asked if I was transgender (good for him for even knowing the concept) and I said no, I’m just non-binary. He then mentioned that there are pronouns for that and i said yes, as a matter of fact I use those in real life whenever possible, but I haven’t tried to do it on the trail because it feels like too much of a hurdle and the awareness is lower than I feel like dealing with. Cynthia came over and joined in on the conversation, and the whole time I just wanted to walk away to be in the hot tub. I finally said that out loud and left them to sort themselves out.
The hot tub was a good idea minus the feeling of being trapped in the wrong clothing. Then I took another shower and went back to blogging. We had dinner with Cynthia, Jeff and the section hiker again. This time they schooled the section hiker on his opinions about government regulations. It was amusing to watch them talk circles around him and I respected their intelligence and indefatigable approach to the conversation rather than just smiling and nodding.
I had another dicey WiFi phone call Oakland and then back to the blog. Jess and I were then in one room for the night because two new couples were there as b&b guests, One of whom didn’t stop talking until about 11pm. I’m finishing this to the sound of microwave popcorn being made in the kitchen and my own sighs of frustration because my guthook app is being idiotic – the user comments disappeared and I rely on them to make choices about hostels and tent sites. I have once again stayed up too late. Tomorrow, the Smokies!
Mile 166.3 to mile 166.3 (0)
Total miles: 167.6
Creature feature: DOGS. and more dogs. and a couple of spiders