Date- February 17, 2020
Location- Laurel Shelter
Elevation- 1086 ft
Distance Traveled Today- 19.2 miles
Distance Traveled Total- 131 miles
Weather/Temp- Clear, 30s, 40s
Pain level- Zero
Wildlife encounters- Whitetail Deer x 3
Days without shower- 1
Days without laundry- 3
Tammy (the nice lady), picked Little Dog and I up in front of our room around 7:30 am. She dropped us off under the overpass shortly before 8 am. I was feeling strong and well rested. I also had the slightest pang of guilt for having only accomplished 7’ish miles in the last three days. This day was ready to be crushed!
I knocked out 8 miles with Katana doing about 1.5 of them before we took our first break – which lasted over half an hour.
As we continued, Katana decided she wanted to be difficult for the rest of the day. I’m not sure what got into her. She was restless on my shoulders, but then didn’t want to listen when I put her down. Little Dog was doing her deliberate Sassy-Shiba Shtick. She would literally stand and smell the same spot for 5 minutes, if I let her – which I did. I actually timed her! Then, she tried to repeat this routine multiple times. There is no way on earth anything smells interesting enough to be smelled by a dog for 5 minutes – unless there’s an interest in eating it. I believe she was literally doing this to be a pain, while trying to assert her dominance.
To my dismay, she would continue this behavior and eventually waste enough time that I would have to pick her up. Then she would shift and fidget on my pack, unbalancing herself over and over, until I had to set her down again. She just continued this modus operandi…
Pushing my Buttons
Thankfully the terrain today was so easy, I was still able to make good time throughout these little episodes. Once I wised up to her little games, I was able to come up with a counter-strategy. I loosened my pack to the point where she slipped into the gap between my pack and shoulders. She wasn’t squeezed in there, but snug enough that she couldn’t throw herself off balance anymore. Little Dog still managed to stick a paw and elbow into either side of my neck, but I just ignored it. Damned if she isn’t the queen of pushing buttons. I don’t know where she gets it from…
Aside from a pretty meadow and a walk around some beautiful lakes, the day was wholly uneventful. We managed to make it to the shelter with over an hour of daylight to spare, and I decided to make a fire. Since I didn’t have the energy to collect larger fuel, I kept it it to smaller sticks laying around the shelter. The fire was big enough to warm and dry my feet, which was good enough for me.
So, there I sat for about 20 minutes with Katana by my side as I ate bacon jerky and pistachios. The little demon didn’t deserve any of it after her antics today. That being said, you know sure as the sun will rise tomorrow, she got about 20% of everything I ate. Her love and affection are always for sale.
The first shelter tomorrow is in 10 miles, and the second one is almost 21 miles. I want to get to that second shelter no matter what. I’m tentatively planning to hike close to 20 miles every day until the next town. Hopefully, the cheeky little creature will be on her best behavior tomorrow.
These shelters are kind of creepy when you sleep in them by yourself. That’s a first for me. They’re kind of like a little haunted house/cabin in the middle of the woods. Except the ghosts are mice and spiders. Hope they don’t haunt me too badly tonight!