The woods were silent this morning. A text from my mom: "Oh but just think of the GREAT day you will have tomorrow!!! I love you stay positive, just squeeze them out as much as u can and that way in a lil while when stuff starts to dry from the sun u can put dry pair then."
I laughed and sent her the forecast below...sun-haha. I got up and put all of my clothes and shoes on the rock to dry out; luckily the rain was on pause. I got everything packed up wet and tried to hang as much as I could on the outside in hopes of no more rain and to dry. It is normal to see my pack with everything hanging on the outside, I remember one day ManBear was behind me and when he caught up and saw it was me he said, "I was wondering who had everything hanging on the outside of their pack, makes sense it was you!" I couldn't bare putting on wet clothes so I stayed in my base layer pants and tank top. I put my rain jacket on since it was a little chilly, and headed out in my soaking wet socks and sloshing shoes. If only I stopped at the shelter to camp; I would still have a wet tent to pack, but not wet shoes! Oh well. After awhile I sat and had breakfast, I changed into my crocs because I couldn't take my feet being soaked to the bone. My shins started to feel pretty sore and this worried me. I am guessing it is just from my feet picking up the heavier trail runners than the Merrell sneakers, but I don't want shin splints again! I decided to try my shoes again with the insoles since those were dry, I put on my dry pair of socks and my feet were happy to be warm and dry. My shins felt better with the insoles but my hotspots did not. I stopped for lunch and made two tortilla wraps with tuna and the little bit of left over Ramen from last night-they were pretty good! The sun was starting to peek out by this point and it was warming up fast. I hadn't filled up water for today and needed to soon with my new Hiker Pro filter. I decided to take the right insert out since that was the foot that bothered me most, and leave the insert in the left one since that shin was bothering me-I am trying everything out here! Do what works I suppose, I am so thankful that my grandparents were meeting me after the two days; I don't know what I would have done with those new shoes hurting and being out for 6 days straight like I have been! Just before the long downhill down to them; I walked up on two trail maintenance men talking to some day hikers. I was ready to pass by when they asked if I was a thruhiker and if I needed any water; that would be amazing actually since I am out! He gave me a Nalgene worth of water into my Camelbak, thank you so much! It was a long, long downhill day-my least favorite on my body. Uphill may be hard, tiring, hot, and exhausting-but downhill is just miserable for me my body wants to go with gravity but it hurts my knees/feet/shins most. When you are looking forward to something, it seems like it takes forever. That is how I felt with the shelter, and then the river, then the bridge, and finally my grandparents. I was out of water and didn't want to waste time pumping when I knew they were in reach. I got to the river and saw a sign, next mile no camping-ahhhhh still a mile to go! I walked alongside the river, with the bridge in sight-what a tease. Finally I came to the steps of the James River Bridge; the longest footbridge on the Appalachian Trail. The wait was over! I heard "cheeky chi!" But didn't recognize the two guys about to jump off the bridge. As I crossed I heard them say from the water, "are you Cheeky Chi?" Yes. "We talked to your grandparents waiting for you." Oh great. I continued down the bridge and asked a couple to take my photo, and then I hear my name again. Who dat? Ziplock?! Hey! I had no clue where they were, seems they walked past my stealth storm campspot and down to the original planned spot. They got up early since they knew I planned to and waited for me by the river. I was so happy to see them since I had offered them a ride to Glasgow. We got to my grandparents and fit 3 packs in the trunk of the PT Cruiser, luckily their packs are smaller than mine! Damn couples splitting stuff. We packed into the back, thankfully we are all skinny and it wasn't bad and headed 6 miles to Glasgow. We met up with Sweet Tooth and took a photo at the very random dinosaur in town, before saying my temporary goodbyes. Nana, Papa, and I headed back to Lexington since we had such great luck with the previous two places we went for dinner. Nana wanted to try this place she saw with outdoor seating, so we went for a late lunch. We couldn't sit outside since there was a party coming in, but it was almost too humid to anyways. The restaurant is also an inn, I got a vegetable sandwich (zucchini, summer squash, roasted peppers, mozzarella, balsamic glaze, and a ranch sauce) with a side of sweet potato fries. It was really good! This town sure has great restaurants. After lunch we headed to the new KOA campground in Staunton. The spot we got is nice for sure but not as nice as that deck we had at the last spot. I laid out all of my stuff to dry, and jumped in the hot shower for a half hour. Man it is nice to be able to shower whenever you want, for as long as you want, for free! Family rocks. Since we had such a late lunch, none of us were really hungry until almost 9:00. We used the new grill for the first time and made burgers, I had Swiss and A1 on mine with Cheetos and Cape Cod potato chips-beats Knorr pasta sides any night! After dinner I caught up on the blog a little bit, read inspirational quotes from a book Nana had; Secrets of Serenity, and watched Golden Girls with Nan like I used to when I was younger. Papa pulled out my bed and I fell asleep watching my other favorite; Will & Grace. My Merrells didn't come in the mail today, so that means they won't be here until Monday (late afternoon probably.)