Day 10: Enemas and Falling Trees

Starting the Day

Last night was the best night of sleep yet while on trail. I didn’t stir once. That is, until I had to go to the bathroom at 2:30 in the morning. I was wondering if I’d have to pee more in the night since I had consumed roughly five liters of water the day prior. Nope. When it started getting bright, I had no desire to get up. I was still so tired from yesterday. I got up when I began hearing the others move in their tents. Heading down to the privy, I got a nice picture of the sun rising.

A gorgeous sunrise over the Deep Gap Shelter privy.

Breakfast was cold soaked oats again. I stopped eating when it began to sprinkle so I could put away my tent. Wet tents do not equal fun. I conversed with a few and found out that Sideways and Pete were headed to the same hostel as I was to pick up resupply. It was also near that location that trail magic was expected.

Before leaving, a man who I hadn’t yet met told me, “I could never do what you’re doing.” “What do you mean?” I ask, confused. “You, wearing shorts. It’s too cold for me to do that.” “Oh,” I say, finally understanding. “On trail crew, we’d always say ‘be bold, start cold.’” And that’s what I did. That is, until I crossed over the ridge and got blasted by wind. My puffy and gloves were quick to go on.

Dicks Creek Gap

The hike to Dicks Creek Gap (at the appropriate mile marker 69.4) was easy. It was about four miles from the shelter and it was mostly downhill. I had good cell reception and decided to call my family to see what was new. Nothing. Nothing was new.

I got to the gap by around 10:00 and there was indeed trail magic. I didn’t get their names, but they started doing this when their son thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail back in 2010. Their specialty is a hotdog, two round sausages, and a pile of bacon on a hotdog bun. I could only be thankful that I wasn’t vegan since most of the trail magic I’ve encountered doesn’t take dietary restrictions/ preferences into account.

I ate my fill of salad, fruit, and their meat sandwich before heading to Around the Bend Hostel with Sideways and Pete to pick up the remainder of my supplies. Upon arrival, Gordon asked if leaving my stuff helped and boy, did it ever.

Trail magic being provided at Dicks Creek Gap.

“Here, I’ll give it an enema.”

Gordon asked if I planned on staying another night, but I said no. I instead needed to figure out why my water filter was running so slowly despite me backflushing it. “Here, I’ll give it an enema,” he said and proceeds to attach my filter to a garden hose. It runs much faster now. I can only hope the filter wasn’t destroyed. I’ll find out soon though if I start having uncontrollable poops.

Since there was such a large amount of people needing to head back to Dicks Creek Gap, Gordon gave us a lift back. The trail magic was still going strong and I ate even more salad and fruit. I sat down on a chair and was very tempted to fall asleep. 

Reflection Time

By 1:00, I forced myself up to hike the remaining 4.5 miles. It was rough. My pack was about ten pounds heavier and I had no energy. I took several stops along the way.

I had a lot of time to reflect. Food has become more of a source of energy rather than enjoyment. I don’t eat much meat – especially red meat – because my body feels better when I don’t. With all the meat being provided, it has merely become a source of protein and fat. And this is coming from someone who struggles with body image. I would try to stay away from high calorie items, but that’s all I look for now. It hasn’t even been two weeks.

Additionally, it doesn’t even feel like I’m hiking the Appalachian Trail. It feels like a series of overnight backpacking trips. When I ask, “Why am I doing this?” it takes a bit to register that I am, in fact, attempting a thru-hike. I wonder if/when it’ll kick in. Right now, it just feels like a backpacking trip to Franklin, North Carolina. 

Lastly, it’s been hard to motivate myself when it’s only me that I’ve seen and hiked with on trail. Trail families are being made and hiking buddies have sprung up and it hurts being passed up because my pace isn’t the same. I know I haven’t been out here long. I’ve put so much hope into finding a friend or a group though since this trail is so well known for that community. It’s too soon to tell though. 

To Plum Orchard

On the last summit of the day, Clan Topos caught up to me once again. “You should have the trail name Lookout because you are always looking out over the mountains,” Ian said. “That’s because I need to breathe,” I reply.

They continued on and in less than a mile later, I followed the sign pointing to Plum Orchard Shelter. I quickly set my tent up and headed to the water source so I could start on dinner. Dinner was homemade pad thai. It tasted great, but I couldn’t stomach it. I was hungry, just not for that. I forced myself to eat as much as I could before throwing the rest away. It’s hard to do because now I have to carry that weight. I was going to make myself gag if I continued though.

The Close of the Night

I did some journaling while listening to some folks from Florida talk about previous vacations in Europe and their time spent in the military. It was a very animated discussion. By 7:00, I was ready to change into my camp clothes and finish socializing. I wrote drafts for the blog as the sky darkened and heard the various snoring from the other tents. Some sounded like they were passing gas whereas others made sounds of chattering mice. The backpacking community is diverse that way. Before calling it a night myself, I heard a crack and the unmistakable sound of a tree falling. Remember kids, deadfalls can kill you. That’s why they’re called widow makers.

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Comments 4

  • jen l : Mar 21st

    You’re an amazing writer! Keep it up, enjoying every word. My fave so far this season.

  • BG : Mar 21st

    Enjoy reading youR blog. Enjoy your hike both ups and downs.

  • Bill : Mar 22nd

    Love following your journey. I was going to start 1 March but had to postpone for another year. Keep it up!

  • Jenny Phillips : Mar 28th

    Morgan I really love following your journey along the Appalachian trail. Thanks so much for posting.


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