Rocky kept us awake until 11-11:30 and still the man is up by 7 and out the door. I'm always the last one to get up, even when I am part awake. We were all ready and headed to the continental breakfast included when all that was offered was cereal, bagels, and waffles-where's my eggs?! Bagel with cream cheese and a bowl of raisin bran was ooooooook. After breakfast rocky was the one dilly dallying. I parted his hair and Lynn braided, we talked with Pigpen a bit, it's his birthday! Happy Birthday Pigpen! Read Warren Doyle's "book" it's one page double sided and then finally got on our way. We were on the trail for 9-9:30 so it was earlier than the day before. There was a great view up on the rocks that Korey, Lynn, and I enjoyed-Rocky talked to his sweetheart back home, last night really made him miss her more. After Lynn and I joined him and we had to take a selfie, these are my two favorite people on the trail; they are both so inspirational and full of life in so many ways. After that I hiked alone, the plan was to eat lunch on top of the bald-leftover pizza! Korey and I stopped to get water, Lynn and Rocky were somewhere behind us, after I filled up (by the way by the time you hike down .4 to get water, and hike back up to the trail-your ready to drink all of the water you just gathered.) I headed on and told Korey maybe we should eat at the shelter since my pizza was on my mind. I got to the shelter and no one was there, checked the logbook and nothing-I went back to the trail and headed for the bald. Up between the shelter and the bald was surreal, the flowers were gorgeous, everything was a luscious green and enclosing you into the trail; I had a slice of pizza. Still no sign of anyone I pushed on toward and up the bald, it was breathtaking. I ate my other slice of pizza, took off my knee braces, aired out my feet and texted with my mom. A half hour went by; no sign of them, an hour went by, nothing. Had they passed me? What if they were ahead of me and I was wasting time up on the bald (Rocky is my ride) I started to get ready to head down. I didn't want to sit by a car when I could sit on a bald, but I also didn't want to keep them waiting. I started to walk down the bald and saw someone from yesterday; I asked if he had seen Rocky, he hadn't. So I walked back up and saw Korey's bright yellow shirt way down below, I meditated for 10 minutes and then sat with him waiting on the other two, I guess they stopped and ate at the shelter. Oh well, once everyone was reunited we took some photos up on the bald and watched the storm roll in, realizing that we would be setting up tents tonight we pressed on to try and beat the storm. We still had some miles to make. Rocky, Lynn and I hiked together a bit, then just Rocky and I. We sat and waited for Lynn but she pressed on so we sat and talked a minute more. I hiked on alone eventually catching up to Lynn and we followed out the rest of the day together. Once we got sight of Rocky's car, we saw Korey sitting talking to someone...someone in a salmon shirt...someone who looked like Big Dave. As we got down to the lot to our surprise it was Big Dave! What are the chances, we waited for Rocky and ended up giving Dave a ride as well. Rocky dropped us where we were that morning (since we would start north and hike south) so we could pitch tents. He sent us off with water and back into the woods we went. We found a great spot right off the road near water. Happy Trails was camped there as well, he came over to talk with us while we made dinner. Hmmm what should I have, broccoli rice au gratin I was saving sounded amazing. So with the jetboil, Lynn read online that if you use Ziplock brand freezer quart bags it is a no mess easy cleanup. Now I tried this early on with her; I put the ziplock in the pot, poured in the water and dinner and boiled-it melted to the bottom of my pot. I have the jetboil sol so it is titanium, hers is the regular jetboil so it isn't as hot or boil as fast-cleaning that was fun. Since then, I have been putting my food in the ziplock freezer, biking the water right in the pot and pouring in and placing back in the pot and that has been working perfect. Back to my rice: I did what I normally do, and kept checking the rice-it was still hard and soupy. Lynn said rice has to simmer that I should heat it back up, so I asked to use her pot since mine didn't work last time. I used my burner, my fuel, and her pot. I put the ziplock of hot dinner into the pot, turned it on, went to pick up the bag a little and the bottom fell out. AWESOME my dinner now had plastic in it. Just mix it they said, no worries, you'll be fine. Then I smelt it, it was horrid. I poured it into another ziplock and it was all burned to the bottom of Lynn's pot. Great. It was late, my dinner was ruined, let me rephrase that-my favorite dinner I had been saving was ruined, and I was getting impatient. I let Lynn's pot soak, went and got some good 'ol Ramen and made that. How nutritious. After I ate, I said my goodnights and went to my tent. It was already getting late, I was annoyed with my dinner, and knew I still had to reorganize my pack. Con #2 with slack packing: everything that was in the brain of the pack (the top) got just shoved into my pack so I could use that part as the daypack as designed. Well now it all needed to be put back in its place. You can see part of my mess below in my tent, basically I had everything on my tent floor and started from square one. Journaled, and called it a night.
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