April 3 - Siler Bald Shelter (114)

We get up early to be taken to breakfast at the First Baptist Church. I don't need the food, but do want the experience. The vans arrive at 715 as scheduled, but there are only five of us available to go. The church is nearby off the main street, and we are led to their hall where 12 people wait amongst seating for 30. We introduce ourselves to, then are offered pancakes, bacon, coffee, orange juice, squash butter, pumpkin butter, regular butter, and syrup. Having planned for many more, we could certainly have kept eating for hours. I comment on how good the squash butter is, and a woman shares a raspberry flavored butter made of green tomatoes.

One member took our pictures so they could be printed and can be mailed to anyone we chose. Envelopes and paper are provided. I was surprised to see how sun burnt my face is, and expect Deb will have the same reaction when she sees it.

The associate preacher spoke to us briefly, saying that this was their form of ministry, that they wanted to remind us of Jesus's message of love. That He said he was made of bread, and that this food was a form of His love and sustenance for us on the Trail.

We ate, signed the large class of 2014 hikers sign, and noticed other signs going back to 2007. Some hikers had forwarded copies of their finishing at Katahdin and these were up on the wall. A really sweet group of people, each wishing us well and saying they'd be praying for us.  Touching.

Returned to the motel, we see Trudger waiting on his ride and say goodbye again. Our shuttle drops us back at Deep Gap at 10 and we decide to go to the next shelter eight miles away. We make the first section pretty easily, reaching Winding Stair Gap and are surprised to see Ent there, waiting with another hiker. She should have been days ahead of us. Basically said she needed a mental health day and was looking for people to hike with. Offered to hike with us a while when she gets back on trail, but when the other hikers ride came up, just got a feeling won't be seeing her again.

Continue to our shelter after lunch about half way there, and it's an (ugh! useless) half mile off trail. Small shelter fills and about 12 here. Rain expected starting at 2 AM until maybe 10, and thunder storms tomorrow PM. Achin and I agree to just shoot for the next shelter six or so miles away and figure out what to do then (hunker down or push on another six).

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