Woke up in the middle of the night, shivering. Nineteen degrees. I put on my warmer jacket, ate two cereal bars and went back to sleep. An hour later Brown woke up, awkwardly crawled out of the foot of my sleeping bag and stood at the door to the tent. I knew he had to poop, he had been stinking up the tent all night. I let him out; it was taking awhile, a put on my shoes and exit into the cold darkness. I was calling for him for a hot minute before I saw a large shape running towards me. My beast. We crawled back into the tent. I open the sleeping bag and he crawls to the bottom. Zip up, back to bed.
I woke up again around nine, ate a pop tart and a cereal bar, which didn't even get a rise out of brown. He's still passed out. I join him and fall back asleep. I woke up again at eleven and decided we had been lazy long enough. I ate an apple, and peanut butter crackers and start packing up. On the move by noon.
It had significantly warmed up. High of sixty degrees today. Cloudy, light breeze. The rail trail is awesome, I'm traveling through tunnels, over creeks, between rock walls. It's enjoyable. Mosquitoes were out but I was layered enough they couldn't get me.
I stopped in Ellensboro at a gas station. I purchased beef jerky for Brown, two gatorades, a bottle of water, a root beer and a magnum ice cream. Downed the ice cream and root beer right away, strapped the water to my pack and got moving. It was at this point I remembered I wanted to get to the post office in Cairo today. We moved quickly racing through the forest following the creek. A few miles later, I thought to check the time the post office closes. Four thirty. I was three miles out at four o'clock. I wasn't going to make it.
I looked at my map and decided I was approaching the trail for North Bend State Park. I veer off and find a camp ground and pavilion. The pavilion has a large fire place and I began to build a fire. Shortly after a car pulls up and Brown went running towards it and jumped in through the front passenger window. Thankfully the guy thought it was cool a dog could do that and loves dogs. I felt really bad but he was cool about it. Side note: people have been really nice to offer us rides. When this happens the car pulls over and Brown jumps in the back. So now whenever he sees a car approach us and pull over, he thinks we're getting off the trail and going for a ride. I like to hope that's what happened here and that Brown doesn't hate me now and want to run away from me.
The woman and child that were in the car went off to play on the playground. The man came over and played with Brown while I got the fire started. I told him about my walk and he thought it was cool. He asked me several times, where I had started, where I was hiking to and if he could have my dog. Before he left he gave me $5.60 and told me to buy some dog food with it.
Unfortunately this campground is closed until mid-April. That means that the water is off and the bathrooms are locked. I wait until the sun is very low and set my tent up under the pavilion. Eighty percent chance of all day rain tomorrow. Just when I'm about to cook dinner, a lodge/SP employee comes down in his truck and says: I don't know how to tell you this but you can't camp under here. I explained to him the rain, my journey, I'll be gone early. He tells me he'll check with his supervisor to see if they could bend the rules for me and will be right back. Ten minutes later, he's back. Tells me it is my lucky day, he can't find his supervisor so I can stay as long as I'm gone before the morning crew arrives at eight. I thank him and promise I'll be gone. I had mac and cheese for dinner.
The wind is picking up, I'm sure rain is on the way.
I wanted to wake up early so as to be out of the pavilion by eight as I had promised the park ranger. I woke up at seven, went back to sleep. Woke up at 730 and got took down the tent. Fortunately it only lightly rained from 7-9. No big deal, I was barely wet.
We arrived in Cairo to pick up a resupply package. First I went into a bike shop/grocery store/trail registry. I signed my name and bought some water, ice cream and candy. While outside eating my ice cream the shop owner came out to chat. When he saw I was with a pup he went back in and grabbed three beef jerky sticks, came out and gave them to us. Brown scarfed them down.
I ran across the street to the post office. While in there I was telling the postal workers about my walk. One of them asked if I had eaten breakfast yet? I told him just an apple and a cliff bar. He told me to go into the restaurant across the street and get whatever I wanted, it was on him! I was very grateful, and hungry as always.
I went into the restaurant, ordered two eggs (I like my eggs over easy), hash browns, toast and bacon. $4, what a deal! Anyway, while waiting for it to be prepared, I struck up conversation with the only other gentleman in the place. I told him about my walk and how I was enjoying all the tunnels on the trail. My food came out and I took it outside to eat with Brown. I tossed him all the bacon and put my eggs between my toast and ate furiously. As I was eating the man from in the restaurant came out and gave me $20, said he wanted to buy my dinner. Three acts of kindness in one town, in one hour. Super awesome.
I continued on the trail. More tunnels up ahead! One of them allegedly haunted. Another one with amazing graffiti inside. I had run out of water a few miles before the town of Walker. I assumed I would be able to pick some up in town but it was just some houses, no store. I began looking for a way down into the creek to grab some water, however, the drop off was deep and the brush overgrown. At this point I was also looking for a campsite. I wouldn't be able to eat dinner without water. A few minutes later, a biker rides by and stops to offer me his water. Must of read my mind. A few minutes later, I found a way down to the creek. I loaded up on water. I walked a bit further and there was a campsite. Perfect. Twenty five mile day.
A little less than perfect, this campsite had ticks and mosquitoes. I pulled a couple off Brown, set up the tent, made dinner and got ready for bed. It was warm when I went to bed and so I shed all my layers down to my underwear. I crawled into the bag and went to bed. I woke up super cold and Brown crawling into the sleeping bag. A little bit warmer, I fall back asleep.
I woke up at nine. Was on the trail by 1030. This was only going to be a thirteen mile day. Short, sweet with a hotel at the end of the day in Parkersburg. I had nine miles left on the trail then onto the street again to head into town. As soon as I got off the trail the rain started. The last four miles I would walk on the shoulder of a busy road in the rain. I made it to the hotel, probably confused the doorman looking like a wet vagrant walking in with my dog.
After my clothes finished drying, I went downstairs for dinner. Since I ran out of dog food, I got a burger to go for Brown. Tomorrow I need to find a grocery store to restock on dog food. This hotel is beautiful and I'm sleepy, so good night.
Thank you readers.