Went for a very short day today. Figured out I can roll along at easily 2 mph, even now. Got to camp at 2:00. Could have gone further, but decided not to kill myself early. Tomorrow, was planning on a longer day, but the shelter apparently isn’t allowing bear bagging, only canisters. If I want to adhere to that, I will have to go an extra 3+ miles to Neels Gap, and then first big outfitter & hostel. Was planning on rolling in early Saturday morning, and staying the rest of the day, but I may get there early. Also, it’s supposed to rain tomorrow afternoon. I’m not too worried about that, but it would be my first real rainstorm in the tarp/hammock. It’s going to happen sometime, and I suppose that the night just before hitting the outfitter isn’t a bad way to test it.
Met some nice people so far. The two that I’ve stayed with for the last couple of nights are two ladies from Northern Florida. I honestly can’t remember the older lady’s name, but the younger on is Lori, I believe. They are very nice, but they are going to do a couple of short days and not get to Neels until Sunday. Most everyone else I have met so far has most likely jumped ahead, what with my short day and the bear canister issue at the next shelter. I wonder if I will run into them when I hit Neels.
Overall, the day has been rather nice. I’m a bit sunburned, but otherwise, not too bad. My knees are a bit sore, but that’s to be expected this early. My right knee isn’t giving me any unusual problems, aside from a little soreness each morning for the first 30 minutes or so. Also, my feet seem to be holding up well. A couple of hot spots, but no blisters that I can discern. I’m actually surprised. I’ve been changing my socks at least twice a day, and will continue that practice. Here’s hoping that it continues to work. Tomorrow’s rain and long day should put that to the test, however.
Woke up this morning, but since I wasn’t in the bunkhouse, I wasn’t able to use the crowd for timing. Thus, instead of being there at 730 for breakfast, I was about 10 minutes late. Learned an important lesson. Don’t be late to breakfast. Free food goes fast with hikers. They make high school kids on 25 minute lunch breaks look slow.
Started out Springer mountain, and walked about a mile up to the top. Clear day made for really great views. Served as a very positive start. Did 8+ miles in a little less than 5 hours, so counting in the 45 min lunch break, averaged a touch over 2 mph. If I can keep that up for awhile, I will be pleased. Also, the anti blister rub that I used for the first time today was great. Treated a hot spot on the back of my heel at lunch, and then proceeded to climb a 3 mile hill without any problem at all. Quite impressed. Hopefully, it continues to perform as well in the future.
Overall, I feel pretty decent so far. I didn’t kill myself in the first day, and got to camp at a reasonable time. It’s interesting looking around at the other hikers. Many are lugging 50+ pound packs and look extremely out of place. The numbers say that 20% will drop out after the 3rd day. I just hope that I’m not one of them.
Have another 8-9 mope day tomorrow, but a longer day for day 3 in order to make the next shelter. The weather is wonderful, but there are storms forecasted for day 3 on the trail. Can’t wait. *sarcasm*
And, I’m off. Sitting on the plane, about to take off. I feel I should be more excited than I am. I hope that I am up to this. I know that this will be a good thing for me. It’s something that I’ve always wanted to do, but I can’t help feel as though it is just me running away from life yet again. Maybe it is. Maybe that’s exactly what I need. The life I have been leading obviously hasn’t been working, at least not lately. Maybe running away is the best thing for me to do. The hope is that this trail not only will challenge me, but also maybe teach me something. What that is, though, I’m not quite sure.
Before I head out tomorrow, I am staying at the Hiker Hostel. Since I changed my plans to start a week later, I wasn’t able to stay in the bunkhouse. Instead, I ended up in one of the private rooms outside the building. It is a converted shipping container, and is really nice. I’ve always liked the idea of converting these into a house. This kinda seals it. I’d totally look to do that if I were building a home.
Met a couple of nice folks so far. It looks like I am rather well prepared in comparison to many, so that makes me feel a little better. Everyone has a story out here. It will be fascinating to hear them all, and to see how many are variations on the same theme – a theme I share.