Hiked 21 miles today to Hightop Hut. Just before getting to the Loft Mountain Wayside, which has food, drinks, gifts, etc, we saw a bear on the trail. As soon as it heard and saw us, it darted across the trail and we heard it go crashing into the woods. Got to the wayside and enjoyed a soda and are my lunch. Hard to pass up hamburgers and other warm foods, but I already have food I'm carrying, and my pack won't get any lighter if I don't eat from my stash. A guy passing through by truck stopped and talked to us, and gave us some peanut butter cookies his wife made. Nice trail magic.
Rain came in quickly and hit hard for about 5-10 minutes. Enough to get us wet, then it stopped. Not sure whether it's my new shoes, socks, a combo, or maybe that my feet got a little soft from not hiking for about 6 days, but the balls of my feet started getting hot spots again and I ended up developing a small blister under the callus. Pretty sore feet as we pulled into the Hightop Hut shelter, the shelter was pretty full, and the campsites were mostly taken. Coffee and I cooked as quietly as we could and ate dinner, as most people were already in their sleeping bags a little after 7:30pm. Coffee found a spot to throw his tent up, and I decided to climb up on the top level of the shelter.
Before leaving the trail to go to Wisconsin for my sister's graduation, the plan was for me to speed up to catch up with Tarzan, and he would be hiking less miles with his aunt and uncle, then take a day or so break to allow me to catch up. Found out today that the plan changed and Tarzan wants to do higher mile days and keep going, so I think that may have been the last days of hiking before Waynesboro. It'll be a little different now, not hiking with my buddy, as we had some good times. Hike your own hike is a common motto on the trail, and I think this will allow us both to do that, as we have a little different hiking styles and goals. While I won't necessarily be hiking alone, as there are a lot of people on the trail, it's gonna be a little different. For now, I'm hangin with Coffee which is allowing me to brush up on my German skills.