Some hard rain last night but woke up to fairly dry tents considering. Slept in a little later than normal, but it was nice after the slogging wet day yesterday. Once we started hiking, some areas were still real wet from all the rain, and some of the creeks and streams were still more active than normal. We could tell where additional streams had formed from the excessive water that the streams couldn't hold. One spot, we couldn't cross at the normal crossing, so we had to walk around in the woods and find a less wet spot to cross. And at another steam crossing, I found an empty turtle shell. I carried it up to the next shelter and left it there with "Welcome to the SHELL-TER" sharpied on it.
Hiked up and across a bald area on the mountain. Of all the balds we've crossed so far (maybe 4 or 5), I think this is the only one that we had a beautiful, clear day and could see the surrounding mountains. It was beautiful weather all day today. The sun was shining, there was no rain, and the temp was about perfect. Made it into the first shelter up on the bald. Took us a decently long time to get to that point. We were kinda dragging a little for the first part of today too. The second half was a ridge. In the book, it looked like a rolling ridge the remaining 10 or so miles to the next shelter, but it was a lot of jagged rock filled with ups and downs that put a hurting on my body. Made my feet ache and the muscles in my legs felt fatigued all. Came across a rocky lookout on the ridge that looked down onto the valley that had farms and farmland all over. The top of the rock where we were also had some tie offs for rock climbing. Tarzan and I took a rest there and let Flosser catch up. It was a really rough section, especially for anyone with any foot or leg pain/issues. I had good cell service, so I called Merrell up to see what they thought about the inside heel area of my hiking shoes falling apart. It happened about a week or so and started wearing down my hiking socks, as well as rubbing on my heel uncomfortably. I have last year's model of the Merrell Chameleons (the 3's), and Tarzan has this year's. He hasn't had the same issue I've had. I wanted to see what the company thought about this wear and tear, because I already bought 2 pairs of the Chameleon 3's, and I wanted to get an idea of how many pairs I may end up going through to complete the trail. Without any hesitation, they told me they would send a new pair (of the Chameleon 4's to me on the trail in one of the upcoming towns we will be arriving in. Pretty sweet customer service! I got the 2 pairs of Cham 3's for the price of one pair of Cham 4's due to them being last year's model. Now it's kinda like I got 3 pairs for the price of one! Also had a chance to send Granite Gear an email asking what I should do about the frame sheet in my backpack that cracked when we had the snow and 15-20 degree weather the other day. I've heard from 2 other people who have the same pack that they had this happen, but in ways other than frigid temps.
We left the lookout and came to a forest road crossing. Found some trail magic just part the road. Jugs and bottles of water, and empty egg crate that at one point had hard boiled eggs, and some baby carrots. Perfect, as I was craving some fresh veggies. The fresh fruits will have to come later. From that point and the next four miles, the terrain got a little more manageable but still rocky. I threw my earbuds in and rocked out to some country music as I sped ahead on the trail toward the shelter. Special thanks to my friend Cara for helping me out and finding a used iPod for sale, getting it, loading it up with some music, and sending it to me on the trail. It really helped out when I needed that extra motivation today!!! Also, thanks for all the candy, funny note, and Men's Health magazines you sent. The whole magazines were too much weight to carry, so I ripped out the pages I wanted to read and pitched the rest.
Got into camp near the shelter, made dinner, and hit the sack. Gonna be sore tomorrow. I can feel it already. I guess that's what 20 rough miles in a day will do to you :)