Day 9, 4:14: Mile 120, Wayah Bald Tower, (20mi)

I woke up and got out of the tent for this spectacular sunrise:

It took about 20+ minutes for the sun to finally pop over the horizon, but worth the wait!

I must have jinxed myself by writing about how I haven’t had any real serious foot issues. I was hobbling out of camp this morning. The top of my left foot really hurt and I couldn’t figure out why. I stopped at a shelter about 2.5 miles up the trail to eat and assess the situation. The late departure hikers at the shelter still had their AM fire going which was nice to sit by and stay warm while I inspected my foot.

It looked like the top of my foot was bruised near my big toe, and the cause was likely the big metal lace eyelets on my boots were putting pressure on my foot whenever my foot flexed. I implemented a trick I saw some guy use on the JMT and re-laced the boot skipping the lowest eyelets (the guy I saw was hiking in his Keen sandals and skipped the first 3 eyelets…he was in bad shape!). I also put on a 2nd pair of socks for extra cushioning (I use very thin Darn Tough socks). It was amazing… I was like a whole new person, no pain at all !

You can see the eyelet I skipped on bottom of shoe:

There was some nice Trail Magic at the Winding Stair Gap road crossing. An older gentlemen drives up from town 15 miles away in his pickup and had OJ, coffee, fresh fruit and homemade cookies set up on his tailgate. The best tasting tailgating food I’ve ever had. Unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture đŸ˜¦

Creative graffiti…it should have read “Lick” which is still kind of odd:

These were my trail friends for the day Squeak and Weasel (aka Squeasel). They are from Longmont, CO and Tuscon. They helped me pass the miles for the second half of my longest day so far. Here they are filling up from a natural spring someone was kind enough to pipe out to us along the trail:

I figured if I started the day at a fire tower I should end my day at one as well (especially a beautiful stone one)…

I pitched my tent on the back side out of the Wayah Bald wind:

This is the view from the front side…it should be another great sunrise tomorrow!

Bug Juice – out

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