Calm Before the Storm
I currently sit here writing this while I enjoy a nice, well-earned zero in Fontana Village. I just finished stuffing myself with the best $12 breakfast buffet I’ve ever had, and am psyched that my schedule for the day has absolutely nothing on it.
This week I will be entering the Smokey Mountains. Although excited, I am a bit nervous for this. I have enjoyed three weeks of almost perfect weather, and of course now that I’m entering some of the more brutal terrain the forecast calls for cold rain and snow. No matter, we will see how it goes and I’m sure I will have much to write about then!
For now, I am going to get you guys up to date with some milestones I’ve hit since my last update.
Carolina on My Mind
After my stay at Around the Bend Hostel, I hiked a grueling 9ish miles to finally cross the Georgia/North Carolina border. I originally was going to camp right at the border, but when I got up there the sustained wind speed was about 45mph and the tent sites were very exposed. I decided to push on another three miles to get to the next shelter.
The introduction to North Carolina is brutal. That three miles starts with a half-mile climb up 400ft, it felt just like the Adirondacks!
When I finally got to camp that night I was happy to see four hikers I had been in a bubble with were also there. It was nice to have familiar faces as I settled into camp for the night.
That night the temperature got down to 17F, and by some miricale I was able to stay warm the whole night. Despite the cold, I slept like a rock.
100 Miles and Running
Following my rude introduction to North Carolina, the terrain quickly became a series of nice, flowing switchbacks. I averaged 12 miles a day for the next three days, and finally hit the 100 mile marker on Albert mountain.
I spent a well-deserved hour up there with my pals Big Spoon, Sunny, Kate, and Wrangler. We rested our tired feet on an information sign and dreamed of town food that was coming the next day.
I Survived the NOC Climb 2022
The next milestone I hit was coming into the NOC, which stands for Nantahala Outdoor Center. They are a white water rafting and kayaking center that the AT passes through.
One thing that is famous to thru hikers is delicious but expensive food at the NOC restaurant. I myself enjoyed a huge burger with gluten-free bread. The other part that is famous about this site is the grueling seven-mile climb up and out of the gorge and back into the mountains. With a freshly ressuplied pack and a belly full of real food, this is a daunting task for the average hiker.
I survived, only to later in the day climb Jacob’s ladder, another grueling uphill. All in all, I pulled two 13 mile days to finally roll into Fontana Dam yesterday. My feet are sore and my heart is happy.
This is now the longest I have ever consecutively backpacked, and things are going well. Something that has surprised me is that I actually needed to increase my insulin intake during the day. This is despite the fact I am still pushing my body to its limits and using a lot of energy.
My theory is that I also upped my calorie intake, which might be accounting for the need for more insulin. I am still trying to find a balance for a good insulin routine on my town days where I tend to eat more carbs and walk less.
I finally had my first overnight low blood sugar, nothing scary but just slightly annoying to have to crawl out of my warm sleeping bag to eat some chalky glucose tabs at two a.m.
So much has happened between my last post and this one, and I’m so excited to see what the Smokies have in store for me. Until next time!
Don’t Get Dead,
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