Blackrock Hut to tenting at mile 918.0 – 39.5 miles
I’m off at 5:30 AM again! With the full shelter last night, is this the end of the bubble? Have I caught the bulk of the hikers? I think a lot about what to do about my mail drop and resupply at the hostel. I decide to go big today and to push big for the hostel Saturday, tomorrow night. I can take the shuttle to town to resupply Sunday morning, get some miles in the afternoon, have a good Monday, and then a big push for the Mason-Dixon Line on Tuesday to get home.
Today is a breeze. The terrain is very easy to cover lots of miles, but my right ankle really starts bothering me. It started a few days ago, but now it is extremely painful. It’s the area down the front, top of my ankle into my foot. It feels like stretched or over extended ligaments from stubbing/catching trailing foot on rocks, roots, fallen trees, etc. [over use injury? ankle synovitis?] It’s been swollen for a few days, but now its range of motion is very little, stiff, and the pain has increased a lot. I’ve been wearing an elastic ankle brace for the little extra support and compression. The pain and swelling definitely alters my stride and step.
I wish I had decided earlier in the day to go to Rock Spring Hut for a bigger day, but at 5 PM I decide to hike another hour and a half and find a place to tent. Doing this gives me about 40 miles for the day and then just over 40 miles tomorrow. As the sun is lowering, I spot a nice patch of grass in the forest about 40 yards west of the trail. I make my way through the brush to the grass patch. I pitch my tent at the edge of a small rock bluff and cook and eat while watching the sunset.
Without many views and only miles of smooth trail, I could have done 50 miles. It was so nice today. Hopefully my ankle feels better tomorrow, but I’ll take some ibuprofen in the morning.