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What an amazing day! It started as another hot one and then it started to rain. It felt SO good. It was a light rain so I just let it soak me to cool me off. I saw Zipper at the first water source I came to. I was so happy to see a familiar face that instead of stopping my track and hitting “resume later,” I hit the Save button. That saved the track and closed it. I had to start another track so unfortunately, that means I’ll have to have two separate Relive videos for the day. Anyway, all in total, it looks like it was a 21.3 mile day when I add in all the bonus miles. I had to go see Kelly Knob. There’s a really scary crevasse I had to jump over. “Just don’t look down!” Got an insane video of my feet as I jumped back over. It’ll be in the Relive video. Today had it all, from amazing farmland crossing, the Keffer tree (largest oak tree on the AT in the south), to walking a ridge line that made you feel like you were on top of the world. I also crossed the Eastern Continental Divide.
So I don’t know if I’m making a wise decision or not but I’m going to do something crazy soon. I’m going to spend a zero in my tent at a shelter. Here’s my reasoning. I was going to push a 22 mile day and go eat at Catawba Grocery, do a small resupply and I think Dragons Tooth. That would allow me to then go over McAfee Knob and Tinker Cliff early on Friday (those three sites together are known as the VA Triple Crown), hopefully before all the weekend tourists flood the place. I would push all the way to Daleville so I could get a haircut on Saturday as it would be closed on Sunday. Well, there’s a problem. The weather report has been calling for heavy rains and possible thunderstorms all Friday & Saturday. I’m only doing this hike once! I’ll only have one chance to get an amazing picture at McAfee Knob, known as the most picturesque place on the whole trail! I don’t want my picture on that amazing cliff to be in pouring rain! So… my wild brain idea is to do a shorter day tomorrow to camp before entering the Triple Crown area. Then on Friday, when the rain starts, I’ll head in, go to Catawba Grocery that day instead to eat there and resupply for my extra days. I’ll leave, in the rain if I have to, and stop at Catawba Mountain Shelter where there are official campsites. (You can only stay in the shelters or official campsites in the VA Triple Crown area. No stealth camping allowed.) I will then stay there in my tent and just relax on Saturday as the rains continue. On Sunday morning, I’ll only have a couple miles to hike up to McAfee Knob when the weather should be amazing again and get my picture! I might have to deal with tourists being a Sunday but the weather should be good. That day in the rain on Friday is less than 10 miles so it gives me time to go to Catawba Grocery and also hopefully get a tent spot at the shelter before it fills up, since it’s a Friday, and raining. I am going to go stir crazy being in my tent all of Saturday and not go anywhere but, hey, I think in the long run it’s the right move. It will set me up for better weather for arguably the best picture spot ever and it sets me up to still get into Daleville where I can hopefully still get my haircut and sets me up for Waynesboro on a Tuesday. Finally breaking the cycle of getting into towns on weekends when rooms are more expensive and everything else is closed. At least this zero is in the woods so it won’t cost me a lot of money like a town zero would. It is just costing me time and food costs. I can live with that.