Jason Sullivan, Sam Weingand, and Charles Raffensperger arrived next and we all set up camp while we waited for Chad Henderson, who was stuck in a traffic jam.
After figuring out the logistics of our cars, we set off to Whitewater Falls, dropping aid at Burell's Ford Road and Cheeohee Road on the way. The logistics of doing a run like this really do need to be considered- it requires a little planning. (Again, thank you Dan).
Group picture, and we're off.
So, pretty much right at the beginning of this run I noticed I was not having a good day. It wasn't anything huge, mostly I just felt "off", like I was working too hard for the easy pace we were at, and I felt like I was out of gas. It also seemed like I was going through my water too fast.
It didn't help that the food I brought because it was perfect for me last time, was not perfect for me this time. That is such a mystery.
Right before the fish hatchery, dusk was full upon us. The trees we were passing through were all wiry and leaveless, and I kept feeling like I was in some version of Grimm's Fairy Tales. It was strange.
As it got dark, we all put on our night gear, which for me consisted of a headlamp and a chest-level light. It took some getting used to. Plus, everytime I needed to get into my pack for either food or the camera, it was a major ordeal to manage the light that was attached to the straps. I'm going to have to learn to maneuver this a whole lot better if that chest light isn't going to find a new home in the river.I'm not sure when this started to happen, but I noticed the group stopping, and it was due to some giant freaky spiders that looked like the Predator. They were spinning their webs across the trail, and Dan's light would pick up on it and he'd stop and clear the web. Man, was I thankful I was bringing up the rear.
Even though I was feeling bad, this was still a very enjoyable run. We laughed a lot, and the comeraderie made things easier. I took as many pictures as I could manage, but eventually I was too worn out to bother getting into my pack for the camera.
Near the finish, my eyes really started playing tricks on me. A baby alligator materialized from the pattern of sand and rocks, so I went ahead and jumped over him, yelling, "Baby Alligator!" As soon as I realized it wasn't real I added, "Nevermind. It's not real." Too funny.
Also funny: Earlier, Charles had set up a sign on the trail that said, "WIMBERLY- THIS WAY!" That completely cracked me up. It was so unexpected.
We finally made it to the end at about 3:00 A.M. We were still laughing and joking as we walked the .6 of a mile to the camp. All in all, it can't be too bad of a run if you're still laughing at the end of 8 1/2 hours!