5/4 Spring Mountain Shelter (11)

May 4, 2013 at 1:09 pm

After our Hot Springs vacation we had some difficulty actually leaving town. We are entering the section of the trail where everyone has warned us the dreaded NORO is lurking. The NORO virus is a nasty virus that unlucky hikers can contract by fraternizing with mouse feces in the shelters and leads to vomiting and diarrhea, at which point it becomes airborne and can infect anyone in the vicinity. It sounds vaguely like something from a zombie movie and we’re trying pretty hard to avoid it. That being said, several hikers aptly conveyed the Hot Springs phenomenon when they wrote in a shelter log that they didn’t have Noro, but they did have a bad case of Nero after Hot Springs.
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Note on a spring warning of nearby Noro

After taking a Nero into what we have affectionately named ‘the vortex’, we managed to eat three dinners, buy new packs, and still be hanging around drinking coffee and using WiFi at 11AM the next day. Smoky and Slider were in the same boat but managed to tear themselves free. We were about to follow but Dr.Spice and Genie were still in town and Mark was hungry so we decided our only choice was to eat at the diner again.
On our way out of town, we ignored multiple temptations. The riverbank was swarming with colorful tents and we passed many of our fellow hikers. Some were headed to the spa to use the hot springs and invited us along, but we said no. We passed giant climbing rocks and people dancing barefoot to the festival music piped through speakers around the campground, but we walked on. Finally, our fellow hikers showed up with beer at the base of our climb and we walked on. Up the steep switchbacks we marched to the sound of noodly jam band music.  At the top of the cliff, the music floated up to us as we gazed out at the town, and we turned towards the woods again.
We made it 8 miles before it began to smell like rain. At 9 miles, clouds began to gather above us, and 1.5 miles from the shelter drops began to fall. We ran the last mile uphill, our packs bouncing on our backs, and made it to the shelter before the storm broke. It was a gentle rain and we were able to set up our tents and stay pretty dry through the night. We didn’t realize this would be the beginning of a long cold trip.