Apparently last night was warmer than I thought; I woke up without a jacket on, and have no recognition of taking it off. I slept like a rock last night, and when I went into the house, I again was the first person up there. I now have a routine, I got my mug and water, put it in the microwave, and heated it for tea. After breakfast we got everything together and I was ready to go by 7:30. It was a little later that we finally got going, but it wasn't too bad. We had over a 30 minute drive since we would be slack packing South today. Earl drove us and I enjoyed listening to him talk about some of his adventures in other countries. He had a stroke, but he is a really interesting and kind guy. He is just a genuine nice person and I am really glad to have spent so much time with him. We got to the trailhead and it was a beautiful day, chilly; but blue skies. We had 13.2 miles today and the terrain was pretty good, but there were a lot more ups and downs than the day before. I hiked alone most of the day, but saw many fellow Northbounders since we were headed the other direction. I waited at the first view for 15 minutes or so waiting for Lynn, but after eating some snacks and relaxing, I decided to head on. When I left; I realized the moon was out and I thought that was pretty neat to see. After the shelter, I saw Puzzle and he thought the South trail was the North trail; I just came from that direction so I knew it wasn't. He was all confused after going to the shelter so I reassured him and then continued on in the right direction. I stopped at the next view and made a biscuit and pepperoni sandwich waiting for Lynn to catch up, but still no sign of her. I only brought half a Gatorade and today was a lot more work than the day before, needless to say; I ran out. I was dragging and I knew the end of the day would be the hardest. I started to see more NoBos; Hobb and Chickadee, Sassafrass, and then Chip, Solitude, and Ravioli. It had been some time since I last saw Ravioli, and I knew he got off for a few days after not feeling well. We caught up talking for a bit and still no sign of Lynn. I started my hike up Old Blue Mountain and it was a long gradual climb. I finally got there and sat for a few snacks, I turned on my phone and had a text from Puzzle. Seems at 2:20 he called the cabin and told them to be there in an hour; I was at the top at 2:40, it was 2.8 miles down, and no sign of where Lynn was. Hence, it was not a good decision on Puzzle's part to call. I headed down the mountain and it was pretty steep, some rebar, and then very steep. There were rock stairs and my knees were killing me. I got to the .5 miles to the bottom and still seemed so far up; very, very steep. I finally saw the parking lot from the day before but no truck, you got to be kidding me. This is what I was affraid of, Puzzle getting a ride back, and us not having service at the lot. I stood for a minute and saw the pickup coming up the road, thank god! I hopped in with Earl and he gave me a bottle of water, we waited for Lynn and then he told me his favorite thing to do while waiting. There are two things to do; read, or take a nap, so we conquered both. I napped, and he read. After about a half hour, Lynn showed up with a Southbounder and we went into town. We dropped the SoBo at the general store and headed back to the cabin. Lynn asked if she should pick up some wine, Earl said he had gotten some. Then she asked about Shocktop since we were having burgers, he said he was all set with that, but he had a personal stash anyways. I asked what his personal stash was and got the answer, Canadian Club; I knew I liked this guy! I told him how my go-to was CC and Ginger. We had some reoccurring surprise guests; Alpine and Babs. Seems they came back and stacked some wood as a work for stay. I cracked open my can of Redds and waited for the shower to open up. After my shower I gathered my laundry and we headed up for dinner. Tonight was burgers, corn on the cob, potato salad and then Earl brought me a CC and Ginger...oh boy! We even had another surprise guest, Ireland! Dinner was great, and I even had 3 things for dessert; I don't even know who I am anymore! Earl asked if I would drive two hikers to the general store, guess I should stop sipping my CC and I don't think any ginger. I put my drink in the cabinet labeled "dishes" because who would be going to get a dish after dinner? I took Freckles and Ireland to the store and when I got back my drink was untouched. We threw our laundry in and Puzzle had started watching Date Night, I haven't seen that movie in forever! I think I've been at this hostel for too long. Ireland asked to interrupt my texting for a question and I let him know I was blogging but yes, ask away. He then continued to ask pointless questions because he knew I was trying to concentrate on something and I had a lot of patience for him. Any other person I probably would have gotten annoyed, but how can you get annoyed with an Irishman?! He also wanted me to add that the highlight of my day was meeting Ireland again, with his chocolate and oatmeal stout; two of his favorite things. For whatever that's worth! Tonight I will sink into this couch, try and finish my whiskey, laugh at the end of Date Night, and hopefully get to bed before 11:00 tonight!
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