Friday, May 30, 2014

AT Day 16: All about the food

5/29 thurs
Trimpi->Knot Maul

There is a feeling you get as you head into town. Your pack seems like it is not even there. And you know you will pig out when you get there.  I was told there was some trail magic a few miles from camp. When I got there it had been ravaged by other hungry hikers and I couldn't even get some crumbs. Oh well. I had three clifbars to get me the 23 miles to town. It was begining to get hot and as I crested the last major climb before town I looked up to the sky as if to say thanks God.  Three glorious miles of descent released me out into some green grassy fields. It was 12:30pm, almost the hottest time of day with the sun directly over head. It was brutal and zapping my energy quick. There were a few small rollers that normally you wouldn't even think about. They turned into mini everests' that I was exstatic to have reached the top. Finally, after what seemed an eternity; it was pavement and across a parking lot to the "grocery store" also know as a highway rest stop gas station convient store.  It was heaven. Airconditioned. I plugged in my aux battery and went to town. Ten pop tarts? Is that enough? Peanuts, almonds, cashews, brazil nuts, walnuts, pecans...aren't there more kinds of nuts?  Sunflower seeds, protein bars, clif bars, gummy candies.  Okay, now what to eat?  I got two cans of beans. One thing that I love and can't really have on the trail. Oh there is pizza and they are keeping it warm just for me. I rang it up and sat down to eat. One of the ladies who worked at the deli started asking me a ton of questions.  She decided that I need to make my beans into chilli. She gave me onions and chilli spice and we heated it up. She also gave me some bread  'cause you cant have chilli without bread. Yum yum. Then the pizza. I wanted to eat more. And lord knows I could have sat there all day and ate. But I didn't was to turn into to a raisen. So like a pouting child I left for the trail. It was still hot and humid as a sauna. But you could tell the thunder storm was about it hit.  And then in a matter of minutes I was soaked and the trail was a creek. But it stopped shortly and left a miserable 9 miles and two climbs of humid soggy muddy fun. I got to the shelter on pure disassociation. Pigged out. Massaged.  Passed out. Tomorrow will be a long day. Today was a sweet easy resupply day, but really tiring emotionally. 

Thursday, May 29, 2014

AT Day 15: Two Weeks

5/28 Wed

Got up and got out. No knee pain on waking or walking. When the first downhill came, so did the pain.  I didn't let it get me down though.  So my goal today was to hike uphill as fast as possible and do what I could on the downhill.  Turned out to be a lot of climbing on the first half of the day. I was going uphill a lot faster that I had been and only going a little slower downhill. I felt so good, I decided to take a 15 minute break and lay my stuff out in the sun to dry.  When I started back up, I felt great and the knee pain was gone. I had some bomber descents and was really making time. I decided to push on and camp at about mile 518. Which, would give me a 42 mile day. Well as I got to about where I was going to camp, I saw three bears one of which was a cub.  So I decided to book it.  Up over the hill and bomb the two remaining miles downhill to the next shelter.  I was running out of light but still just flying down the trail. Eventually I slowed down and walked the last half mile while eating.  I got to the shelter and everyone was real nice and welcoming. I got a top bunk, setup, massaged and passed out.  Today was my longest day yet!  It followed a 43 mile day yesterday.  I feel great. I think I am finally ready to make a push. 

Averaging 37 miles per day

AT Day 14: Set fire to the rain

5/27 Tue
Vanderveter ->Saunders

Easy trail, food re-supply and finishing another state today. Excited as I hit the trail 6:30 am.  Lots of rollers and gradual downhill. I was making great pace. I got my first trail magic today. A church group left a box of goodies for thru-hikers.  I had a MT dew and devils roll. I kept up the great pace but began to notice a little twinge in my left vastus medialis. I tried some massage and playing around. Nothing seemed to work. Then I remembered my running tights .., duh this is why I brought them.  The pain was gone with tights on but slowly crept back. The tights did, atleast mentally, make me feel as though my leg wasn't about to snap in half. I stopped by a shetler to get water and as I was filling up I heard some thunder rolling in. I decided to wait a few minutes to see what happens. While enjoying some instant mash potatoes it began nuking.  So I waited 30 minutes as the storm passed. It must of deposited atleast a half inch of rain.  So I cruised down into Demascus making sweet splish splash with my feet.  Demascus has nice park as you enter town. I got my groceries though and got out of town. If you stay in town too long, you get sucked in.  I pig'd out on my way up out of town.  I got to a full Saunders shelter and a bunch of campers. I quickly setup on the ground, did my massage and passed out.  43 miles and a resuply. Great day!

Monday, May 26, 2014

AT Day 13: Dont go grocery shopping hungry

5/26 Mon

Rocking and rolling this morning.  Feeling adventurous. So I took the very unused looking trail to Abbys hostel. If it works, I woildn't have to ration food or make the 3 mile round trip into Hampton.  Abbys ended up being more like a half mile from the trail and there was no one there.  Not having good luck with hostels. No worries though.  I hsmmered down to Hampton 20 miles into the day. I got to pass Laurel Falls on the run in so that was sweet.  But it was hot. I had a cliffbar and a chewy to get me. 20 miles. You know how you are not suppose to go to the grocery store hungry .,. Opps. I needed food for today and most of tomorrow before I hit Demascus.  Well I spent $50. But how can I pass up 2 for $3 2 liters of MT Dew?   Anyhow, now I am trying to eat as much as I can, so I dont have to carry it. Walking uphill eating oreos, sardines, poptarts and gummy candy, while drinking MT Dew is not exactly the easy on the stomach when its 85 degrees.  Needless to say, my stomach has seen worse and I was fine.  I realized I had service near the top and layed down for a brief siesta and caught up on internet stuff. RANGERS??? Really? I swear, if I miss the Rangers win the cup, ill never do the AT again.  So I ran downhill and realized no matter how much I food sack still weighed too much. Ugh, 8 mile climb up to Vanderveter shelter was long, arduous and mildly annoying because of the heavy pack.  I got there in time to eat while watching the sun set.  It was a wierd day to say the least. I got 33 miles closer to Maine but covered 37. God I hate wasting mile.  Oh well. Tomorrow will soon be today and I will haveto sieze it!

AT Day 12: Good days, bad days

You know that Ive had my share

5/25 Sun 
Greasey Creek->mountaineer

Feeling flat this morning. Lots of climbing today so no rush.  After the first climb the downhill helped me loosen up but still slow.  Hiking up Roan Mountain took a long time but I had a new friend.  I picked up a lost dog and he ran along behind me for 6 miles.  However; he found a female and left me for her.  Over the top I could see the balds that were up next. They didn't look bad. I was excited for the long downhill after the final climb. But my legs were just getting slower and heavier. The balds took me forever and I just felt like I was dying.  Getting on the decent it was covered in roots and big sharp rocks.  I struggled through and had the last 3 miles of smooth trail to open up.  Then I got on the last 8 miles of rolling up terrain. Every uphill seemed like I was hitting a wall.  I couldn't wait to be done for the day. I ate as I walked to camp and was ready for bed when I got there.  There were a group of fun guys my age already set up. I chatted them up for a bit and then hit the hay. I had already forgotten about my awful day. I am glad it is behind me. I got a bunch of climbing and rough trail behind me. I guess it is better to get that over with when I am not feeling good and save the nice trails for when I am feeling good. 

My first pet.  That only lasted acouple hours.  

More balds
Two states down

Saturday, May 24, 2014

AT Day 11: Greasey Mistake

5/24 Sat
Spivey gap->Greasey Creek

On a mission today. Trying to get to Greasey Creek hostel. Wifi and a bed to reward myself for 10 good hard days. It was a nice easy trail to start the day.  I made it to Nolichucky quite early. I stopped into the hostel and grabbed some snacks for the climb ahead. Eating and climbing I was trying to avoid the blow up of yesterday.  Up up and up, I was feeling good. Like I said, I was on a mission.  I was dreaming of getting to this hostel and pigging out and sleeping well.  I was almost there and getting hungry.  I could have sworn I should have been there by now. Did I go past it? No it is always further than you think. Holy hell it can be this far can it?  And then I saw it...the shelter that is two miles past the hostel.  I would have just said screw it. But I needed the resuply.  Oh well it is just two more miles.  So I ran back got to the intersection I thought it might be. After looking around I found a little sign to hostel. I ran downhill. It was suppose to be .6 miles off the trail.  It seemed twice as long and was quite steep. I am not looking forward to leaving the hostel in the AM.  But I am here. There is no one here. Finally I found another hiker. He said they went to town for dinner.  Oh geez I missed dinner. When they finally got back, everyone was nice enough. You could tell the lady who ran the hostel was a control freak. But none the less she let me make some instant mash potatoes whileI ate 4 bananas. The I had a pint of ben and jerrys. Then another. I layed down to write this and the lady running the hostel said she could make me dinnr now that the sun had gone down(sabbath). So I had a black bean burger and an angus burger. A little backwards of a meal but it felt good in my tummy.  Now im passing out. I will have to resuply in the morning. What a day. It was well worth it. I just wish I didn't have to cover 41 miles to make it 36 closer to Maine. 

Feeling good for cover 366 miles in 10 days. Only 49 more days to go at this rate. 

AT Day 10: You just had a near life experience

5/23 Fri
Little Laurel->spivey gap

Congratulations, you just had near life exprience.  

I started off my day in the fog again. As I got up to the ridge it felt like it might rain soon. I saw a sign that had two trails, the white blaze AT and a blue blaze Bad Weather trail.  Well I am in for the white blazes. It started to rain, so I quickly threw on my rain gear.  I up'd my pace to keep warm and the storm seemed to be getting worse.  It was like a scene from a movie. A tree fell a ways in the distance. Thunder and lightning were crashing everywhere.  The rain seemed to just be pooring out of buckets. This was getting intense. Suddenly, I realized I was reaching the end of the trees and entering an exposed rocky ridge.  Crap.  So I sat down on my pack and had to wait.  I ate a cliffbar and then another. I didn't know how long I would be there and didnt want to get cold.  About ten minutes later the storm cleared as quick as it rolled in.  I ran up the ridge to a most beautiful sight. You could see the outline of the storm and the sun in the distance.

 It was a surreal experience.    

"Congratulations, you just had a near life experience"- Tyler Durden

Well it was time to get my hustle on; one I was cold and two I lost about thirty minutes.  I ran and ran and felt good.  This day is going awesome. Then came the hunger and the climbs.  So I ate and walked uphil.  And ate and walked uphill. I had about 3,000 Kalories on this climb. I was still hungry and still climbing...ugh.  This begins where my mind turned. I put on music and tried everything I could.  But nothing seemed to work.  For another four hours I stuggled in this fashion.  When I realized it was almost 6pm and I needed to hurry and get somewhere to spend the night. I booked it. Where was this energy a few hours ago.  I sprinted like I had just started and was going for a short run.  Finishing with some eating and walking. Set up camp by myself by a creek.  That was a tough 37 miles.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

AT Day 8: That makes a week

5/21 Wed
Pecks Corner->Roaring Fork

Up and out quick. Long day ahead with some big climbs. A few short climbs but a lot of downhill got me 20 miles done in 5 hours. Great pace and gives me plenty of time to finish the 2nd half. At one point I came upon a lady talking on her cell phone in the middle of the trail. I said "good afternoon" and she gave me a look of annoyance as she moved aside.  I was kind of steamed by it, but realized if she had cell service, maybe I do. Sure enough some 4G. I satdown in the shade and posted to my blog for the first 5 days. Finally. After about 10 minutes I was back running. I don't like to take long breaks as I find it kills my momentum. It was getting real hot and I had to walk along a road and then under a highway under pass. I couldn't believe how loud the traffic was above. Glad to be back in the forrest, I had a 5 mile climb ahead of me. One foot in front of the other and I was on top. Snowbird Mountain.  I had a nice descent and was able to get water at a shelter at the bottom. For the last two climbs I decided to try some magic. I got the headphones out and to work I went. Cresting the final climb I had a feeling of deep satisfaction. Today, I stayed positive and had a great day! I sprolled out my stuff on top of Max 's Patch and let it all dry. This is the first true 360 view from the top of a mountain I have had on the AT. Packed up and headed to camp. Ate the last half mile again. Setup, massage and passed out. Great 40 miles today. Looking forward to hitting Hot Springs tomorrow and resuply. 

256 miles in a week is 36.5 average

AT Day 7: High Point

5/20 Tues
Spence Field->Pecks Corner

When I woke up and looked out the bear was standing in the middle of our camp.  I said good morning bear and banged a stick on the wood floor.  He took off. I got ready as quickly as possible and got out of there.  The trail ran along the ridge and provide some nice views. The trail hit Clingmans Dome(the highest point on the AT. It was an interesting top, with a spiral ramp to a look out tower. It was a tourist scene and I was freaking out. I took some pictures quick and then vanished into the woods.  It was nice and peaceful on the trail for quite a ways. But then I hit Newfound Gap. Again it was a tourist trap. There was also no water.  I took off a quick as possible to get away from people and towards water. I put on my head phones for the first time in a week.  The music sounded different to me and was very harsh on the ears. I didnt listen long and it was back to my thoughts. It was the first truely sunny day for me and I was getting hot fast. As I climbed up and finally got water, I found myself on a knife edge ride. It was plenty breezy and refreshing.  Realizing I wasn't going to push on the extra 5 miles, I suddenly had some time on my hands. I stopped right there in the ridge and layed all my stuff out to dry. I soaked up some rays for 30 minutes then head to camp. I ate while walking the last half mile. I got to camp, setup, quick massage and passed out. 37 miles run for the day. 

Pictures from week one (3)

Top of Cyoah Bald just after sunrise
Early bird gets the view
Coming into Fontana Dam
Biggest dam in the East
Spence Field Shelter
Good morning bear!

Almost to Clingmans
I was getting pretty hungry

View from Clingmans Dome

Such a wierd top of the mountain
Newfound Gap

Walking on a knife edge ridge

More ridge walk

Some probably poisonous snake
Snowbird Mountain

Drying my stuff out before sunset

Maxs Patch

Good morning owl. Sorry to disrupt your bath
Walnut Mt
Hot Springs sounds nice

Pictures from the first week (1)

Ready, set, GO!!!!

3" of rain over night:-)
I didn't know Georgia had rain forest

Finally a chance at a view with some clearing

My first trail sunrise

One state done
Apparently, you have to take a picture of this tree

It is so wierd being on top of a mountain and barely having a view because of the forest. 

Trees and fog, get use to it...I did

Oh and waterfalls. 
Glad to be almost to camp, 40 miles done
A little sketchy staying here by myself

Pictures from week one (2)

Got to climb towers to get the views
My first town
This one is for Christal:-)

          WARNING Graphic content

My feet are a little beat up from swimming the last. 4 days
Got to hit the trail early for the view