Day 51 – Thunder Hill Shelter to John’s Hollow Shelter

16.3 miles, 41,756 steps, 262 stories climbed

795.1 miles, 2,071,207 steps, 19,886 stories climbed
I wanted to push on today and probably should have.  When I reached the shelter it was still only around 2pm but the clouds rolling in did not look happy and so, with the next shelter 9 miles away I decided to stay and avoid the rain.
At first it seemed I had made the right decision.  About a half hour after I stopped, the thunder became violent and the rain fell in buckets.  The visibility dropped to almost nothing as the wall of rain became almost blinding but the storm moved on about as fast as it started and the sky was clear and blue again by 4pm.
  51 2
I was tempted to pack up and move on but making it to the next shelter before sunset would have been unlikely so, I would have to set up my tent on the wet ground, which is something I try to avoid when my tent is still dry unless I have no other option.  So, I stayed put.  Not really a big deal, this is where I planned on being 3 days after Daleville, I just wasn’t expecting to have gone so far yesterday so it would have been nice to stay ahead of pace a bit.
Made a friend
Made a friend
The hike itself started with a few mountain views and also a few spots walking through fields of flowers about to bloom and some that had started already.
When I reached the first shelter I took a brief lunch break and noticed this sign stating that the shelter is in a flash flood area, well that doesn’t seem very smart.
 51 Flash Flood
The next shelter wasn’t too far away so I pressed on and the next section was really nice.  I walked along a stream for a while and then that let out into a river which I walked along for a mile.  The river had a few waterfalls next to it, feeding it.
51-nJames river Foot Bridge
Then it was time to cross the river on what is the longest footbridge on the trail.  This has been the only footbridge so far made of concrete and steel instead of just wood.
51-longest footbridge on the AT 51-Bridge
I continued on and watched the clouds get darker as I crossed a few more streams to reach the shelter.
I wasn’t at the shelter long before Crane and two other hikers (both of whom I’ve met before but their names escape me right now).  Everyone hid in the shelter for the duration of the storm but once it cleared out the two hikers pressed on.
Crane decided to stay put too and he and I talked for a bit.  He’s hiking the trail as he decides what to do with his life now as he has just gotten out of the Israeli Army.  He says he’ll probably go to school but he’s not sure for what.  He got his name Crane due to his love of origami and making paper Cranes.
51-Fresh Spring water
Now, with all this extra free time today, I’m gonna try and finish this book.

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