I'm sitting in a small shelter approximately 661.8 miles from Springer Mountain in Georgia. It's raining a little bit. There are four others with me: two SOBOs and two other NOBOs like me. (Southbound and northbound.) It's a little magical sitting in a shelter while it rains. Part of it I'm sure is the knowledge that you're not hiking in it, I'm sure.
I've slowed down a whole lot. My feet have been hurting, so I pulled my mileage way down from 15-20 mpd to about 11-15 mpd. I decided it was better to not be miserable and not go as far than to go further and hate myself for it. It's amazing how important your head is when your hiking. If your head's not in it then you may as well be somewhere else. The other day I had a moment where I was done. I was ready to go home. That's when I decided it was time to chill out and smell the freaking mountain laurel.
Look how swollen my feet look in this picture (this was a week ago when my feet weren't doing very well):
I had my first "zero" day (in which you go zero miles). I zeroed out at Woods Hole Hostel. Like my guidebook says, it really is a little piece of heaven. It's a small, self-sustaining organic farm and hostel. It's run by a lady named Neville and her husband Michael. They make amazing home-cooked meals... I got to hang out with the goats and the chickens and the ducks and the cows and the geese and the dogs and the annoying guinea hens for a day. It was a very wonderful stay.
A nice panoramic of the bunkhouse and the main house.
After walking through Pearisburg I stayed at the Rice Field shelter. It was full of trash and the privy wasn't much to write home about, but the view! I sat out in the field at sunset and watched the sun say goodnight and simultaneously watched the huge super moon rise. It was amazing.