Woke up to sore legs after that climb later last night right before bed. Took a few steps and remembered the hot spots on the balls of my feet were still there. Very uncomfortable. Sometime in the early morning, I woke up all of a sudden from my sleep and realized it was starting to rain. Had to react quickly to pull my rain fly back over the front part of my tent and get it staked down. Being woken abruptly and then not being able to fall asleep for a while is a terrible feeling. It was a familiar feeling and a reminder of what used to happen with my old job a lot. When people at the plant needed information, help making a decision based off the schedule, or just didn't want to take responsibility for their own actions, most people had no hesitations picking up the phone no matter what hour of the night or morning, and calling to wake me up. Now this wasn't everyone's approach, but it happened a lot. Sometimes up to three or four times a night when I was on call. Now I was told that all the time spent during non-business hours, working on work things, was figured into the pay. If it was, it still didn't help the mental or physical hurting that tat puts on you. As I recalled that, I was glad to think about that part of my life being left behind when I left.
So we got to hiking and it started raining. Hardly even bothered me this time and didn't bother putting a rain coat on, as it was warm already. Didn't last long, but the pain of my feet hurting was still there. Got to our first shelter of the day and stopped in to use the privy. Today wasn't a day of many words, just like yesterday. While Tarzan and I hike with eachother, sometimes one or the other get ahead of the other, or sometimes we are right by eachother and just go for miles without saying a word. It's not that we don't get along, sometimes, there just isn't much to say. Sometimes it's the tough terrain and focusing on breathing that's enough of a challenge alone. While we were hiking lately, I've had plenty of time to think about things. Lots of things. With time to think about things, little issues like foot problems, can turn into major things in my head that make me wonder if I can handle another 4 months of this! Hiking has been something I've really enjoyed over the past 3-4 years, but honestly, hiking day in and day out, can turn out to be not so exciting. The thrill of a hiking trip is one thing, but this is proving to be a little different. Thinking this way is not only tough on the mind, but proving to be tough to my mind and body. The mental challenges have been taxing this week.
We had a tough climb up and over tons of boulders and rocks as we hit what they call The Dragon's Tooth. Probably would have been neat, but once again we got snuffed out with the rain. No view. Hiked down toward the parking lot and sat down to have lunch. In the rain. There was a family style restaurant that tons of hikers rant and rave about called The Homeplace. This was coming up and we didn't want to miss it. They're only open Thursday through Sunday, certain hours. We decided to change our plan of hiking there today, because with the tough terrain, we weren't covering a lot of ground quickly. We decided to hike to the nearby hostel and get a lift there. We stayed at Four Pines Hostel which is a 3 car garage with cots, couches, and pool lounge chairs. Classy, I know. As we walked down the road towards it, the rain really started coming down. We got into the hostel and met Huff and Puff, 2 southbound section hikers, and the owner Joe. We did a shuttle run to the store (gas station), then got back and took showers. Gunrunner, Off My Meds, Slim, and Snorting Ox showed up. We then went bet to The Homeplace for the family style dinner. Another group of hikers showed up (No Trace, Unbreakable, Rainbow, Nutterbutter, Four Spoke, Dora, and another guy showed up too. We ate TONS OF FOOD! Mashed potatoes, biscuits, gravy, corn, green beans, cole slaw, ham, roast beef, fried chicken, beans, sweet tea, lemonade. Rounds and rounds of it, followed by coffee and peach cobbler for dessert! Great meal, and a great group to spend time with! Got back to the hostel and everyone was joking, talking, and having a good time! Found out Gunrunner has been to Eagle Caves up in NY where I've been, and where a whole lot of people don't even know about. That was cool! A great pick-me-up after a few downer days. Hopefully that's all I needed!