Woke up and had my delicious breakfast drink of Starbucks VIA instant coffee, chocolate protein mix, instant milk, and water while I laid in my sleeping bag. Gave it 10 minutes to let the caffeine start doing its work, then got moving. A brisk, cold morning, but no snow or rain, so much more tolerable. Got warmed up as we got hiking and throughout the day had to keep putting on and taking off a layer with the wind and temp changes.
Came to Trimpi Shelter that was nice, including a nice privy as well. From reading the shelter log, it looks like the fireplace was well used the past few nights to keep the hikers inside warm. Wimps! We slept outside in our tents. Just kidding. The wind can blow in those shelters and be very cold. Flosser actually had snow coming in through the peak at Thomas Knob shelter just below Mt Rogers the other night. Regina Ridgerunner was there and talked to us for a while. Also had a message from my twin, Phoenix, telling me that adding to her list of injuries and gear mishaps, that she had now fallen and bent her trekking pole, and now she has a big hole in her outside pocket of her backpack too. She also asked if I wanted to swap gear with her. Haha. Silly girl. Luckily I haven't matched a lot of her mishaps lately.
After our quick break, we headed out and low and behold, who do we run into on the trail out of the shelter back to the AT??? Houdini! Crazy guy. Still showing up everywhere. He'd stayed at a hostel 2 miles off trail last night where his resupply was. We hiked on a little further and came across a couple who talked to us for a bit, and mentioned they left trail magic at a bridge on the other side of the mountain we were about to climb. Amazing how much faster we move when trail magic is ahead and we know about it! Got to the bridge and found a cooler with Pepsi and root beer, and a huge plastic tub with foods like Ramen, oatmeal, crackers and popcorn, oatmeal cream pies, nutrigrain bars, snack packs pudding, and hard candy. I grabbed a root beer and an oatmeal pie to add to my lunch and devoured them. Trail mix 4 days in a row! Pretty spoiled, and I love it.
After some more (you guessed it)... hiking, we came to Partnership Shelter. A super nice shelter built by the Forest Service, with a shower, sink, and a nearby restroom. This is the shelter hikers get excited about because you can order a pizza and have it delivered just a few hundred yards away at the Mt Rogers welcome center. Houdini showed up a little while after we got there (shocker), and while Flosser, Tarzan and I ate our meals we already had, he and The Mules ordered pizza. Sounded good, but we decided to forego it and moved on about 3 miles from the shelter, knowing that we are going to be eating at a place called The Barn tomorrow, and they have a burger called The Hiker Burger. A one pound burger that I doubt I'll have any problem destroying! We will also hit our resupply tomorrow at the place where we will be staying, and getting showers and doing laundry. What we planned would take 6 days, we should finish in 4.5 days, thanks to some higher mile days. Downside is that my feet are pretty sore and my legs are a little too. All good though. Feeling strong!
All in all, another 18-19 mile day, and looking forward to hitting some good food tomorrow for lunch!