Had good intentions of doing a higher mileage day today. Woke up and hit the trail by 7am. Cleared the first few miles easily and quickly. Made it to a wayside because Coffee wanted to grab some breakfast, and I needed to look into info on how to get home for my other sister's (Kristin) graduation from grad school in about 2 weeks, in Chicago. I got stressed out last night as I researched from my tent only to find out flights are really expensive, so I looked into other options. Best I could find is a bus taking about 17 hours each way, but I gotta do what I gotta do. Confirmed dates with my parents before booking, then attempted to book online. Denied. Couldn't be booked online for that trip. I called Greyhound, only to find out that for this trip, it also couldn't be booked over the phone (enter stress). Only way to book is from an Amtrak station, whether in advance or day of travel. I was concerned that the price would skyrocket if I purchased day of. The lady said it would be a few bucks cheaper than the online advance purchase price (figure that one out), would not increase, and if they are sold out, they'll send another bus (I want to call again to make sure of that). So far I have a ride from the trail to the bus station about 20 miles away (thanks to the uber helpful section hiking friend Zion), most likely the bus ride home and return bus ride back (provided everything works out purchasing day of), and as of now, no ride from the bus station back to the trail. Definitely not easy to coordinate, but I really want to be there to see my sister graduate, so I gotta do what I gotta do to make that happen! I guess if anything, I have flexibility if a flight drops considerably in price between now and then, and I catch it.
So now that I had eaten up hours of time working on this, the goal of a high mile day was out of reach. When you hike day in and day out, not making planned mileage can kill you mentally. At least it does for me. That's when it can get bad on the trail, because it's letting the trail get in the way of the hike. I'm out here to experience and enjoy this, but sometimes these roadblocks make it tough. More mentally than physically usually too. At least the blackberry shake I had for breakfast was really delicious!
Ate lunch while we were still at the wayside, then got back to what we should have been doin. Hiking. But not before I picked off a tiny tick from my thigh. First one I've found attached. Annoying and scary. Call it odd, but ticks worry me more than bears.
Later through the day came across Dame Quixote who I met earlier in the week. She mentioned stopping at the Skyland Restaurant to grab a bite to eat since the next shelter was too far to reach at that point. At first Coffee and I decided against it. Later down the trail we gave in and decided we needed the boost. Before we made it to Skyland, we were hiking pretty quickly and when I looked down at one point, happened to see a small rattlesnake in front of me. Stopped a few feet shy, yet no rattling. It was about 2 feet long and moved back and forth across the trail. We waited for Dame to catch up to warn her. Then the three of us waited for it to move enough off the trail before we passed. At Skyland, had a burger that reminded me of how the burgers Mom and Dad make back home. Good stuff!
Hit the trail for about 2 more miles and found a spot to camp just past Stony Man Mountain, which had some nice cliffs littered with tourists.
If I thought the stress was done for the day, I was wrong. Checked my phone only to find out that through some miscommunication I may not receive a food resupply package in time a few weeks up the trail. After looking into options, finally came up with a game plan. Hopefully it works or I'll be to plan B.
Before anything else can find a way to add to the stressful day, I'm calling it a night.