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I woke to some crazy thunderstorms around 4am. It started with light rain, then thunder and lighting, then the lightning was right over my head. It was crazy but I stayed relatively dry. I dozed off and woke around 6am.
The first order of business was to get my bear bag down. I struggled with it for quite a while and almost cutting the rope. That was my longest morning activity and delayed my start. I filtered water, ate, and hit the trail with the intent of doing 20 more miles. In the first hour the trail was pretty much a river. There were so many creeks and places I had to rock hop. Shortly into the morning there was a large stream and it looked like it usually is a rock hop but the intense rain flooded it. Without much hesitation I walked in with shoes on and crossed the ankle deep raging creek. The current wasn’t actually too bad.
I kept leap frogging Faithful and Renegade all day. I started to feel horrible and my knees were going to crap again. Every step started to hurt. I took vitamin I and kept on going. I called Cam to chat because I was feeling emotional being back on the AT. It's really weird to be back here and especially without my hiking partner. I wanted to quit and go home.
I kept pushing on and I stopped at Kid Gore shelter which I vividly remembered from my 2015 hike. I also stopped at Goddard shelter and I remember that too from hiking a long long rainy day with Sarah. It’s so strange to be here 5 years later. I sat alone and debated staying at the shelter or sticking to my plan. It didn’t take long for me to decide I wasn't going to keep moving. I made the choice to stop doing big days and instead get some great filming and enjoy myself.
I ended up hanging at the shelter and Faithful, Renegade, Redbeard, and Snakebit all showed up to stay along with some weekend hikers. We had great conversations, saw a nice sunset, and called it a night. I’m staying in the shelter for the night despite the fact that I hate staying in shelters. The hope is to get an early start.
As I lay in the shelter typing this I still feel like bailing early. I may just do 100 miles and go home. I see it less as quitting and more as changing plans. I definitely bit off more than I could chew by starting trying to do 20 mile days. I’m wrecked physically.