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I woke up this morning and it was 35 degrees outside. I started later than usual, around 9am, because getting up and out of my tent sucked. Everything was wet and cold. I left alone as usual and stopped for a snack and took in some views for about an hour. The group showed up after a while and I ended up leaving since I felt I needed some alone time.
In early afternoon we climbed up Albert and it was so steep that I couldn't use my trekking poles. At the top was the 100 mile marker! I'm pretty excited to have made it this far. I made it to Long Branch Shelter later in the day and met a man named Nurse whose voice sounded identical to the policeman neighbor character on Family Guy. Him and I sat and soaked our feet in a cold creek together and chatted. I also learned about what cold-soaking food is. It doesn't sound like something I'd ever want to do. I really enjoy cooking. I also met a man named Gadget who said he'd bought far too much cheese and candy and gave me loads of extra food. As the night wound down I built a fire for everyone and we had a great night hanging out. What a great day it was. I'll be in Franklin tomorrow.
This morning I walked from Long Branch Shelter to Rock Gap and my knee felt absolutely terrible. I was yet again in so much pain. I ended up stopping at Rock Gap and got a ride with two guys I'd previously met, Shane and Macho Man. They told me how in normal life they work for a food truck that makes steamed bagels. Something I've never heard of. We exchanged numbers and later that night ate dinner together. It was nice to have some company in town since I'm really connecting with a whole lot of people.
I stayed at this place called the Hiker's Den with a German man who spoke no English. I learned that you can use Google Translate to have a conversation so that's how we communicated.
Today I didn't do much other than relax and eat. I did end up going to Outdoor 76 and a man named Rob spent over an hour with me helping me find the right shoes. He showed me how I was wearing orthotics (SuperFeet inserts) in a controlled shoe rather than a neutral shoe, which I learned meant that my arch was double the high it should be. He thinks this is what's causing all the pain I'm dealing with. So, I ended up getting a new pair of shoes that were neutral so the arch support should be right finally. I finished off the night by eating a 1lb burger by myself at a local bar followed by a pint of Ben & Jerry's.
I spent one last zero here today in Franklin. I left the hostel and came to stay at the Sapphire Inn. I ended up sharing a room with a girl I'd met named Peacock. It was probably the most disgusting motel I've ever stayed at. I didn't even feel comfortable taking my shoes off in the room and I slept in my sleeping bag on top of the bed. We ended the night by getting dinner with a small group of people I've been hiking with. One of them, Dale, paid for our meals. I'm hoping to head back out tomorrow.