Days 117 & 118
Once again it rained all night, but we were indoors tonight! No wet gear! We got to eat blueberry buckwheat pancakes that were so filling even thru hikers felt full! All the hot coffee we wanted was also a plus! Our goal for the day was to head to the cookie lady’s house and go from there. I packed up and headed out at 8 am alone since Nokey and Testament were a little slower this morning. I walked with Shaggy for a little while this morning before meeting up with Cheddah and walking with him for a while. We crossed over I-90 and them climbed Beckett Mountain. We were making great time when the sky suddenly turned dark and there once again appeared to be a threat of rain. Shaggy, Cheddah, and I flip-flopped all morning before finally going our separate ways at October Mountain Shelter. I headed on to the cookie lady’s house and got there around 12:15 to wait on the boys. I had lunch and free homemade cookies while chatting with all the hikers coming through. By 2 pm Nokey and Testament still had not shown up and all the other hikers were going in to Dalton 9 miles away. Since I’d had a 2-hour lunch, I was ready to head on. A SOBO hiker told me he saw the boys on his way in, so I took off. I found them coming north and told them I wanted to go to Dalton. They agreed to go if they could have a good lunch break, so I took another hour waiting before we all headed out. The forecast called for 0% chance of rain the rest of the day. At 3:15 we had a torrential downpour of cold rain with cold wind. It lasted about half an hour while we climbed up Warner Hill. We met up with Skinny Rambo and Float, Yoko, Chunder, and Grundlehammer who were all heading to a ‘secret hostel’ called The Birdcage. Rumor had it you got a free ride to Old Country Buffet too! We all booked it to town and got there at 6:30. Rob, the owner, picked us up in his van and took us to his house where we got showers, laundry (with clothes to wear so we could wash all of our clothes!) mattresses to sleep on, and the ride to the buffet! He didn’t want any money from us and gave us free pop to drink too! We all ate entirely too much and got a great nights’ sleep on a full stomach, which we haven’t had in a long time!

We woke up in the morning and I got a ride in to town to the Verizon store since my phone was shorted out. Verizon told me to go to the Apple store, a 40-minute car ride away, in Springfield. Lucky for us, Nokey’s uncle Mike lives less than 10 minutes from the store and was willing to take us in for the night making for an unexpected zero! I got to the store and replaced my phone (200 dollars and a 2-hour backup later!) and we got to stay in a house with showers, real beds, pizza, and rotisserie chicken! We were very lucky to have the hospitality from him! Tomorrow, we get back on the trail and need to start making big miles again to get further north. No photos again since I lost them all in my backup :(