Day 15 – March 22 – 10.3 miles – Wayah Bald to Wesser Bald
The storm the previous night was pretty intense. Heavy rain and high winds. It was kinda cool to be able to determine the wind currents by following the howling of the trees though.
My hammock got rocked hard by the wind several times throughout the night, but this time everything held up just fine.
Stoats setup was way better. He found a cleft in a hill that fit a hammock perfectly. He was basically surrounded by earth on three sides. He said he barely felt a thing.
The beginning of day 15 started out ok. The first four miles were mainly downhill. I didn’t feel quite right but I kept hiking.
As soon as I started the 700ft ascent up to Cold Springs shelter something felt very wrong. I was dizzy and I felt like I was giving 100% but my body was barely moving. If you have ever had a dream where you’re trying to run as fast as you can, but moving very slowly, you’ll have a general idea of how I felt.
Stoat was quite a bit ahead of me and there wasn’t any way of letting him know something was wrong. At one point I was so out of it that I began to whimper softly. I think that was my body telling me to “STOP RIGHT NOW!” and my brain fighting back.
Luckily Stoat had noticed he hadn’t seen me in a while and either came back for me or waited for me. I was in such a daze at that point it’s hard for me to remember.
I told him how I felt and we decided to hike the remaining distance to the shelter and take a break. It took all I had to get to there.
At the shelter I took same excedrin and forced myself to eat. Odin and Feathers stopped by to refill their water at the spring that was only a few feet from the shelter. I’m pretty sure we talked to them for a few minutes before they headed out.
After they left, I chugged some water and fell asleep in the shelter.
When I woke I felt a lot better. I mentioned to Stoat that “Maybe I just need to eat something”. I was hoping that was true but I had a nagging feeling that there was something else going on. Either way, I felt well enough to go on, so go on we did.
Several times throughout the day Stoat would suddenly say “Did you hear that?”. I would stop for a second and listen. I didn’t hear anything and I have pretty good hearing. A little while later he said “Ok, now do you hear it?”. Again I heard nothing. He imitated the sound. It sounded as if someone were to drop a super ball from the height of a few inches. Thud…….thud….thud..thudthudthudthudududud. “You have to hear it”, he said “Its not in my head….is it?”.
So, with my health questionable and Stoat questioning his sanity, we hiked on.
Toward the end of the day we got to the Wesser Bald observation tower. It was basicaly a raised wooden platform that gave 360 degree views of the surrounding area.
At the top of the platform we met two attractive girls that looked like they were in their early twenties. We talked to them for a little while. At one point I asked what brought them out on a weekday. They said that their entire town lost power due to the storm on the previous night. A big tree fell on the local Subway sandwich shop. (Big news in a small town) Because there wasn’t any power their high school was closed for the day. It was at that point the sound of a record coming abruptly to a stop reverberated through my brain. High school. These girls were in high school. I was suddenly very grateful that I hadn’t tried to flirt with them.
0.8 miles later we arrived at Wesser Bald shelter. Odin, Feathers and Wildthing were there. The were a few logs situated in the middle of camping spot. Everyone seemed to agree that was a good place to cook dinner. I sat a little apart from everyone because I didn’t want to get anyone sick.
Feathers asked us if we had seen the attractive girls at the observation tower. “You mean the High school girls?” I said. He looked at me with wide eyes. “High school?…….Oh…….”
Stoat brought up the subject of the mystery sound he had been hearing. He said ” I’m not sure if it’s in my head or not but I’ve been hearing this sound”.
When he described the sound Wildthing began to laugh. ” You’re not mad man!”, he said “That’s a pheasant! I watched a video of different animal sounds on the AT”. Stoat was visibly relieved
Suddenly a loud KWOCK KWOCK sound came from nearby. Wildthing looked at us in alarm. We quickly let him know it was a pileated woodpecker. I guess that one wasn’t on the video.
Wildthing was worried about some of his knee pain. I offered him some of my KT tape and showed him how to apply it.
( KT tape )
KT tape is a stretchy cloth that has adhesive on one side. It can act as a mild brace in many applications. Both Stoat and I had been using it for our knee pain.
I was having a great time with all the conversation but my condition was taking a turn for the worse. I decided to call it an early night and got my hammock. As I lay there I could feel the heat of my body radiating off the cloth of my hammock. I had a fever. No doubt about it.
I fell asleep listening to Wildthing talk about his kids and others talk about their favorite books.
In the middle of the night I woke up covered in sweat. I felt better so I thought “Well, that’s over with”, and went back to sleep.