As it turns out there are no shuttles on the weekend out of Partnership Shelter, we would have to hike to town. Packing up my stuff I headed for the road with the others, hoping it wouldn’t take long to get into Marion. We weren’t out there five minutes before the 6 of us were climbing into the back of a pickup headed for Walmart. The short ride down the mountain side was quick and exhilarating, the air in our faces, free in the back of a pickup.
Getting out at Walmart we thanked the gentleman and resupplied quickly, food in our bellies was on the agenda for today. We all met back up at McDonald’s for breakfast and lunch. We stayed for quite some time, eating, charging our devices, talking, and planning our next stops. Unfortunately for one of us the journal ey was already taking its toll. Rubber Ducky had been having foot problems and on this day he had had enough. Rubber Ducky and Packer Hat both got a room for the night to weigh there options on the trial. I talked to the locals and found out that there was a free clinic in town as well.
Overhearing my conversation a gentleman came up to us and gave us the number to his family physician. He then told us that he had thruhiked in the past and was willing to help out hikers. This news couldn’t have been any better except those two were no where to be found. I had only one recourse, to text them and hope they got the info. At last I heard they were seen walking around, but when we looked they were gone.
Everyone else one by one while I stayed waiting for Gadabout and T-bird. I had recieved a text that they would be in town the night before or this morning, so wait I did. From 9 am to 3 pm I had heard nothing and was starting to get the urge to leave. Finally they contacted me and said they had gotten to town. I was excited to see them but I couldn’t spend the night. Taking a zero here would set me back tremendously if I want to finish and financially. I waited more for them to show up,nothing for three hours. By six pm I had to hit the trail if I wanted and hitch out of town. Funny thing about hitchhikers it’s harder to get one and night then during the day, it’s even hard during the day.
Standing on the side of the road for while no one even looked at me, every once in a while I’d get a wave but no ride. Finally a nice guy is a jeep took me out to the trail head. Just as soon as I got there I realized I forgot something in town and had to hithcback. Getting lucky again gain again gain wonderful couple drove me in town again gained dropped me where needed to go. What a crap day, the place I needed to go was closed and didn’t even have hours posted. I couldn’t stay so I headed back out,my debit card would have to be mailed again or forwarded at this point. With no time to spare and no money I hitched back to the trail.
I had planned on just getting out of town for the night, hopefully more than a few miles. The sun was already going down by the time I hit the trail for the last time that day. I had to move fully supplied and weighed down by the pizza from the day before I made little to no progress. My pack weighed a ton on my tired legs. Up I went over the rolling hills, slowly, tirelessly I trudged one foot in front of the other. My heavy breathing the only sound in the forrest. Then directly in front of me, a large black object stood up. The round head and ears a dead giveaway of what it was. Standing 5 feet tall and looking right at me was a black bear no more than 50 feet away.
My adrenaline kicked in, filling my brain with chemicals, my heart rate quickened and I was ready. Yelling at the bear, it took off to the right of the trail into the brush, I could no longer see it, but I could hear the bear closer to me. Taking my time I slowly moved down the trail looking for the bear in the trees and on the ground. I then spotted the bear and a much much larger one off on the ridge to the right, about one hundred feet from me, watching and looking at me as I walked carefully down the trail. Keeping my eyes on them and theirs on me, I headed down the other side of the hill.
I called home to let Kim know where I was and what the situation was. I wanted more to make noise and to let someone know where I was than to catch up. My body was still in fight or flight mode and I was feeling good. The next hundred yards down the trail I could smell a campfire as I descended. Walking to the tent I yelled in that there was a bear close by. In one quick motion a familiar face poked out and greeted me. Goodfoot had camped just there and I felt safer with him then alone. I wasn’t looking forward to night hiking so I set up my tent with him and had a relaxing evening by the campfire.