I’m staying in a shelter for the first time tonight. This is the biggest one on the AT. It holds 24 people. It looks like we’ll be pretty full tonight. It’s nickname is the Fontana Hilton. We actually have a bathroom and shower at this location. This morning was miserable for me. First I couldn’t sleep because there were no level camping spots. My sleeping bag kept sliding down towards the foot of my tent. Plus my mind was preoccupied with the rain I knew was coming. At about 3:00am I got dressed to take the walk to the privy. When I got back to the tent I turned my phone on to see if I would get service. I checked the radar and saw that the rain was almost to us. I decided to pack my stuff because I didn’t want to do it in the rain. I finished packing my pack and was about to break down my tent and it started. So I rolled up a wet tent. I couldn’t bear the thought of sitting in my tent for hours waiting for it to stop. So I put my headlamp on and started hiking in the dark and rain with my raincoat on and a rain cover over my backpack. I figured as long as I’m getting wet I would be warmer if I was walking. About 20 minutes later I decided to take my glasses off. In the rain it was harder to see with them on. So I unstrap my water bottle and set it on the ground. Then I have to undo my backpack and take it off just to get my glasses in my pocket. Quite an ordeal. The terrain was difficult and the rocks, roots and mud were slippery. After about an hour of hiking I reached for my water to get a drink. It’s not there. I left it laying next to the trail where I took my glasses off. I cussed a little and turned around to go get it. This whole ordeal added two hours onto my day. At about 8:00 the rain stopped. I thought it was going to rain all day. So it turns out I could have stayed in my tent until the rain stopped and I would have been hiking dry.
The good thing is that I got to my shelter before 1:00. So now I’m resting my knees and ankles in the sun. I need some recovery. I’m also drying my tent out. Oh yeah, my shoes to. Tomorrow I enter the Smoky Mountains National Park.