There was still snow on the ground when the shuttle dropped us off on the trail. The sun was shining brightly and the air was crisp and cold. I would go through places where the snow had all but melted, and then hit patches of snow.
Soup Spot took off ahead of me. Later, I passed her and didn’t see her again until we met at the shelter that night.
I saw Big Luscious, who I had met at several campsites I had stopped at. He has a prosthetic leg. Though he might be missing a leg, he has a very big heart and everyone who meets him loves him.
On this day, he was having trouble. He has been having a lot of pain where his prosthetic attaches, and he was also having trouble with his good knee. I tried to encourage him. After I got to the shelter, a guy came and said that Big Luscious needed help, so two guys went to meet him and helped carry his pack past the shelter to the next Gap so he could get a ride into town. Last I heard, he was just going to take a few days off the trail. He is not able to do very many miles per day and water was a concern for him. I hope he makes it. He could use a prayer or two. I think he sold everything he had before getting on the trail.
That night at Blue Mt. Shelter was bitter cold with wind. After I ate, I got into my tent. I had on my hiking clothes, socks, and my down jacket. I draped my Mylar blanket across me on the inside of my sleeping bag liner, and I draped my rain jacket and skirt across me between the liner and quilt. I also had my knit cap on. Thankfully I was warmer than I have been so far. The weather forecast said that it was to get down to 29 degrees.
While I stayed warm while in my quilt and other garb, any shift of position allowed my pockets of warmth to dissipate and I had to start the warming process all over again. I didn’t want to get up the next morning. It was so cold. I couldn’t stand to cook and have coffee. I quickly packed up my stuff and started walking so I could warm up. By the time I had my tent taken down and my backpack loaded, my fingers and toes were numb. I stopped a couple of hours later at a campsite and had my breakfast and coffee.
Most of the day was nice and sunny and it warmed up nicely, but it soon clouded up. The hiking was hard on this day. I don’t know how many mountains I climbed on this day, but it seemed like about three, very steep mountains.
I had planned to stay at a shelter on top of a mountain, but there were large patches of deep snow that had not yet melted, and it was extremely windy and cold. I decided to press on to a campsite that was in a Gap. Sadly, the wind was whipping through that gap, and it was COLD! I was done for the day. Thankfully, I was not alone. Turtle and Walmart Special, who I had met earlier in the day, were setting up. Later some ladies came and started setting up. While I was eating, a guy named Phillip, who was section hiking, stopped to eat and we talked as we sat on some downed logs. It turns out he is a police officer who lives in TN and he grew up in Heber Springs, AR, which is just a hop, skip and a jump from where I live.
These past few days have been hard hiking. It has only been a few days back on the trail, but it feels like a week. I had a mail drop to pick up at a hostel so I did about 7 miles in to it.
I have hiked about 70 miles and will soon pass into North Carolina. My old bod is really feeling it. I am not as physically prepared as I was for my last hike. This pain in my knee is still giving me problems. The brace doesn’t seem to be helping much. It mostly hurts later in the day going down hill.
The short overnights at hostels don’t leave me much time to blog. There is so much to do when you make a town stop: shower, laundry, drying the tent if its wet, organizing food, cleaning equipment, eating, etc. I feel exhausted and I’ve only been on the trail for a little over a week! I don’t think I’m drinking enough. I pee into a ziplock at night in my tent and in the morning it is orange. I’m eating lunch and supper at night if I have to skip lunch for some reason–it hasn’t been convenient to stop. I’m trying to get my calories in so I won’t lose too much weight. Thankfully I have been hungry this time around!
Until next time…