Again no reception so to be posted tomorrow.
It rained a lot during the night but as before our tent stood strong and we were dry. This morning (while still in our sleeping bags) it took us a while to realise the softer and then harder rain falling wasn’t rain any more but the wind (blowing stronger or gentler), sweeping the water off the pine tree branches down onto our tent.
We started our climb up to Mt Rogers (highest mountain in Virginia) in the mist and as we went higher the mist became thicker. It was soooooo cold. The trail doesn’t go over the summit and with the heavy mist doing the detour to get to the summit would have been pointless – we wouldn’t have seen a thing (Trevor pointedly said “it wouldn’t be the best use of our time…. I’m getting that thrown at me at least once a day now!)
Down from Mt Rogers we crossed a road before climbing up a bald again. I prefer the highveld to the bushveld in the same way I prefer the balds to the forest; I can breathe freer when I can see!!! The sun bravely tried to help but the wind was so strong, roughing me up as if I was a 20kg child.
Walking was tough because the trail was either mud, or standing water, or rocks and stones. I like boulder hopping but walking on stones for too long really hurt the feet.
We got our daily reward though. We have been looking forward to today’s stretch for a while. It is where you find the Appalachian wild ponies. There are around 100, I would say we saw (in 3 different sightings) about 20. There are different theories of where they came from, one that they were used in some mining activity long ago and left here, another that somebody tried to breed a robust pony in the mountains. Whatever the truth, there is now an association taking the responsibility of protecting and managing them. Once a year they are rounded up to undergo vetinary check-up.
They are quite cheeky, they come up to you, lick your legs, try to munch your pants, they are after the salt.
Both Trevor and I wanted to eat more today than what was allocated for the day. I think the cold must contribute to our hunger. We plan to pop into town in 3 days from now to buy food, so we have to stretch our stock for 2 more days.
It is 2 weeks before Summer starts here and today was more like an August day in Johannesburg than like a near-end-of-spring day. And sounds as if min for tonight is 5 degrees. Well it’s 19h and we are lying in our sleeping bags in our tent wearing everything warm we have.