A brief rain fell overnight but by morning the rain fly was dry for packing. What wasn't dry was my nose and sinuses...darn I knew I was getting sick. I filled my belly with oatmeal despite my lack of hunger and pushed on to another morning of cycling. My lungs felt as if they weren't getting all the oxygen and phlegm came up often as my body exercised and perspired. Not my finest morning or best pace but this is the trip, this is real life and sometimes I get sick. Knowing I had to keep fed and energized, I pulled in to the Swinging Bridge Restaurant in Paint Bank, VA for breakfast. I couldn't really taste my food well but the texture was nice. Stuffed with eggs, potatoes and biscuits I paid the bill and went back out into the cool morning air. A headwind had begun blowing down the valley impeding my progress. It was a strong fall breeze tossing leaves into the road and forcing me into the lowest gear to keep struggling forward. I kept on climbing. The road crossed into WV yet no sign showed it, only a line in the asphalt and different roadsigns. The Potts Creek Railroad once climbed up this grade so it wasn't too steep, just a gradual pull all day long without a descent. The last 5 miles of road before crossing into VA again is an uphill slog to 2800ft along a meandering highway. At the crest I was quite tired and knew I couldn't push my body too hard if I wanted to improve. The following 5 miles was all down hill and I enjoyed the breeze and freewheeeling. Down at the Glen Alton turnoff on Big Stony Creek, I found a campsite and called it quits early at 2:30pm. I knew this spot was fine for camp in the NF and that my body would thank me for the soup, tea and rest in the hammock. Napping and reading books as the sun sank low then turned in for sleep feeling as though my health was on the improved course forward. Slept better overnight too with less coughing.
While bathing naked in the frigid creek water, I noticed a crawfish the size of my hand walking close inspecting my toes. Nope! I'd later feed them the last of my noodles from dinner and watch them gather them into their mouths with the many small arms. Love these baby lobsters.