I decided I wanted to get back to the trailhead by 8:30. I'd have preferred sooner, to get an earlier (and thus, cooler) start to a day that starts with a long uphill, but that's a reasonable compromise since I'm starting an hour away from the trailhead. An 8:30 start meant leaving at 7:30.
To help save time, Beast's dad generously offered to drive to a nearby fast food restaurant and pick up breakfast for everyone. That plan to save time worked, and we only wound up leaving 15 minutes late (and didn't need to stop for food along the way).
As I mentioned already, the day started with a long uphill, 2000 ft over 2.8 miles up Bald Knob, which despite the name, isn't actually bald. The next mountain, though, Cole Mountain, actually was, though.
On the (trail) north side of Cole Mountain, at Hog Camp Gap, there was trail magic from Cricket (2009 NOBO), in the form of soda, beer, and large oatmeal cream pies. It was a great gesture on a day that was entirely overcast.
Besides being overcast, a very light rain occasionally fell, making the day somewhat dreary and soggy; my shoes got soaked just from picking up moisture from plants along the trail.
Once I got to the Seeley-Woodworth Shelter, it started to cool down (or perhaps, it just felt cooler since I was no longer hiking), and I found I had to put on my rain jacket and put the legs back on my pants to stay warm.
As it started to get dark, we found one of the mice that lived in the shelter, and took pictures of it.
I also finally put together a tentative plan for Shenandoah and Harpers Ferry. It's closer than I thought; it should only take until June 9th (11 days) to get to Harpers Ferry.
Yesterday and today, for the first time since I got my ankle brace in Hot Springs, I didn't wear it. I haven't been rolling my ankle very frequently anymore, and it's probably best I don't wear the brace every day so as not to develop a dependency on it. So far, it seems to be working out.