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Today I met a bunch more people including Zoltar, Kooter, Clown Car, Low N' Slow, Twigs, and Wheaties. Wheaties spent the night at my camp with me and I managed to get my bear bag stuck in a tree. Most of today was a very hard and steady uphill climb. On the way down my knee started to hurt again and the pain was quite severe. I did, however, have some excellent views and the sun finally peeked out a few times. Despite the pain, I'm really happy lately. It still feels so right to be out here.
Earlier today I saw purple flowers and it reminded me of my mom. I texted her a picture and told her that I loved her the "Purplest". I ended up hiking a good chunk of my day with Twigs. I noticed he was carrying a drumstick on his pack, and being a drummer, I asked about it. He told me he's carrying it for a friend of his who was the drummer in his band who committed suicide only a week before he started the trail. He said that he's carrying it to remind himself that despite his depression and no matter how hard it gets, nothing is worth ending it.
I ended my day at Wesser Bald Shelter. Now that I'm settled in it's raining again. I'm happy to be dry and warm inside here. This is the first shelter that I can tell that there's clearly some serious mouse activity so I'll definitely be hanging my food bag. I'd been at the shelter alone for a while but now people have shown up. I met someone named Shark Bait who was also from MA and eerily reminded me of one of my friend's from home. It weirdly feels like I spent time that friend tonight. Tomorrow should be a Nero to the NOC.
Today I walked a relatively short day mostly with Shark Bait and his friend Backtrack Chicken. It started out very wet and foggy but it cleared up and ended up being one of the most beautiful days yet. Everything became so green as soon as we descended. It seemed like spring had already started but we've been at too high of elevation to see any of it.
Once I made it to the NOC I saw Crash and Twigs and we hung out and chatted for a while by the river. I ran into someone I hadn't met yet who said he was in a serious amount of pain like I have been and he cautioned me to slow down. He said there's really no rush right now so it's better to take it easy while I'm in pain. I ended up getting lunch after chatting and then saw Dale, who I'd spent time with in Franklin. He ended up buying me a beer and some nachos and later took me to a local Ingles to get a resupply. He's such a generous guy. I ended up getting a shared room with two deaf men whose names I didn't get, who were just visiting and not thru-hiking, and I also met Viking who is on trail. After I rested and showered I headed down the the pub and ordered chili dogs and the waitress ended up giving me two of them for the same price just because she felt like being nice. Maybe it's because I was sitting alone though I didn't mind. There was a band playing so I enjoyed the moment and felt so thankful that I'm on this adventure.