Day 6: 9.5 miles today, 74.8 total

Today was MUCH better. I need to do more days like this. I did 9.5 miles today, which is still pretty far, but I think I hit my sweet spot. The terrain was moderate, with even amounts of uphill and downhill and lots of flat areas. I think I’ve just been pushing myself too hard and getting discouraged. I need go sloooooowwwww down.

The bugs were absolutely horrible today, constantly in my face, spiderwebs all over me, and it was extremely hot and humid all day. Several hikers passed me today, a lot of them doing section hikes, which is really encouraging. You know, thru hiking might not be the right thing for me, but I don’t feel so bad about hiking the entire AT in sections. Every time a thru hiker asks me if I’m a thru hiker as well, I say, “no, I’m section hiking from Daleville to Harper’s Ferry” and their reaction is always the same: “Oh wow! That’s a big section!” It makes me feel as though I’m a little bit more than a typical section hiker.

So my day hiking ended around 2:30 pm. I set up my tent, hung a bear bag, had some food and dipped my feet in the creek next to the shelter. I pretty much took a bath in the creek. It felt so damn good to get my hair wet with something other than sweat.

Tomorrow morning I’m getting picked up around 9am and heading to the hostel. Thank god! My soul and my feet need a break. I’m jumping to Waynesboro Monday and hopefully camping for free at the Ymca. I really need to rest my feet. I don’t feel bad at all “yellow blazing” (following the yellow lines on the road) that section. I want to enjoy this hike, and the terrain I am on right now is not allowing that. I want my toes back.

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Me and my new bud "50+"

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Reached mile marker 800 on the trail

Day 5: 12.7 miles today, 65.3 total

Another physically and emotionally rough day. A lot of uphill again today,  and my toes are starting to freak me out a bit. I drained my blisters this evening and used someone’s Neosporin to hopefully help them heal tonight. 

Last night was good.  I’ve been sleeping like a rock out here.  I was nervous about the chilly nights,  but I have been very cozy in my sleeping bag. The campsite at Matts Creek was very nice as well,  and next to a beautiful creek….obviously.

The first part of the day up until Johns Hollow Shelter was nice and flat. After that it was a very steep uphill climb.  I passed one guy at the shelter who was heading out, and his pack must have weighed 70 pounds. He said he was aiming to reach this shelter I’m at tonight,  but he never made it. I also noticed he had a gun on his belt,  which was a little off-putting to me.  On the way up to the shelter I also passed a thru hiker sitting on the side of the trail named “007” who said she felt sick,  but didn’t need help.  She said she didn’t want to get anyone else sick if she had the flu or norovirus or something. She showed up shortly after me,  but I hope she’s ok. 

I was feeling very defeated again today. I feel a little lonely not talking to anyone for 10 hours a day. This morning I was talking to “Magnum” who camped at the shelter as well with his wife “Cocoa.” I was asking him what it was like to be thru hiking with her and he talked about how much he absolutely loves it because they make such a good team. Hearing that really made me miss my teammate. Maybe I misread myself but not having a partner to walk with and share experiences with is kind of dull.

Anyway, just 1 more day until my zero day and I NEED IT. I think I may actually ask the hostel if they can shuttle me up to Waynesboro so I can avoid some really tough terrain. Maybe that’s cheating, but at this point I really need to take care of my feet. I will still feel proud of myself making it to Harper’s Ferry regardless if I hiked those 40 miles or not.

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The best part of my day...flat!!!!

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The James river

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I was down there a couple of hours ago!

I’ve arrived!!!

The day has finally come! Currently, I’m writing this on my flight to Roanoke, but tonight I will be staying at a hotel in Troutville, Virginia so that in the morning I can start my hike refreshed and well rested with a good complimentary breakfast in my tummy. Thank you Drew! I’m starting to get the butterflies in my stomach and my excitement level is now increasing.

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Flying allegiant air

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Landed in virginia. Can't wait to get to those mountains!

 I can’t believe I am here right now. It felt like it was going to take forever, but I finally finished school, I have a master’s degree, and now I get to go on this hike I’ve been longing for. I will only be gone for a month, but I hope I get a lot out of this next month. I’m hoping to experience something truly on my own. Along the way, I may find myself asking for rides into town, or chatting it up with the through hikers in the shelters, but I’m very excited to wake up every morning and do what I want to do, without having to listen to anyone else’s suggestions or concerns. I just need a moment of solitude.

Anyway, I thought I would share in this post some of the things I will be starting out with, including my food. We’ll see if I end up getting rid of anything!

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My food for 5 to 6 days

To start out, I will be taking 5-6 days of food. Many through hikers will only carry 2-3 days worth of food, but my intention in this trip is to go into town as little as possible.

For breakfast I will have an instant oatmeal and poptarts. In the early stage of this hike (before that hiker hunger kicks in) I might just go with 1 of these.

Lunch consists of some variety: cliff bars, tuna salad on tortillas with some cheese, beef jerky, trail mix and peanut butter. Again, most likely won’t be eating all of these things every day to start out, but we will see when the hiker hunger kicks in.

Dinner mostly consists of pasta and rice sides mixed in with some instant mashed potatoes and some powerade drink mix. I might pick up one of those dehydrated hiker meals at the outfitter I have to go to in Troutville, where I also have to pick up lighters and alcohol for my stove.

And for dessert, peanut butter and sleep.

Hopefully I won’t starve! 😛

Oh, and happy mother’s day mom! Sorry I couldn’t spend it with you but I’m sure you’ll enjoy the peace and quiet. I love you and everyone else who has encouraged me to go through with this adventure! I can’t wait to share my stories with you!

Cloudland Canyon, April 2 – April 6, My AT Prep Hike

Well, the time is almost here! I am less than a week away from heading out for a month-long hike on the Appalachian Trail! About a month ago, I had a little break between presenting my final project at school and going back to work, so my boyfriend Drew and I decided to drive up to very north Georgia and do some back country hiking and camping. It was a beautiful trip. The weather was absolutely perfect, aside from a slightly scary thunderstorm one night. It was also really exciting for me to test out all of my equipment to make sure I had everything I needed, and to also try some new things I hadn’t done before that I had watched videos about on youtube, like hanging a bear bag. I learned a couple of things as well, like a beer can alcohol stove works great for one person, but if you are trying to cook for 2 people, forget it. You are just going to waste a lot of fuel trying to boil way too much water for dinner.

Drew and I had a wonderful time. It was great for me to see that he was into it. Before I came along, he hadn’t had much experience hiking or camping, so I’m happy to announce that he loves it (or at least that’s what he tells me). We have actually been talking about doing a thru-hike of the AT in a couple of years! I can’t wait.

Anywhoo…I have tons of pictures of our adventure in Georgia, and they speak more than words do….