Day 30: Zero Day in Erwin

One Month on the AT

We celebrated one month on the trail by getting off the trail. Not permanently, just for a day.

Zero ≠ Nothing

Thru hikers call it “taking a zero” or “zeroing.” What a misnomer. Zero miles on the AT, for sure, but not zero miles or zero things to do. I’ve got a long list that will keep me non-zeroing all day. But to be fair, a nice afternoon nap is on the list.

I’m long overdue for a trip to the laundromat. For the last week, restaurant hostesses have been automatically pointed us toward the outdoor seating. I caught one hostess licking her finger and holding it up in the breeze so she could put us downwind of the other paying clients. My hiking pants are so stiff with dirt and dried up sweat I’m afraid they might shatter. Needless to say, Northstar’s clothes will go in a different machine than mine.

Washing my clothes would be pointless if I don’t get a bath, shave, haircut, hot shower, and then another bath. Drinking water hasn’t been hard to find along the AT in Georgia and North Carolina, but bath-sized streams have been hard to come by and petty frigid when we find one. Loss of my sense of smell over the years has turned out to be a minor blessing.


I’ll also be looking for an outfitter. I’d like to get a lightweight pad to sit on during breaks to keep my butt dry and to help keep the ticks at bay. Speaking of which, I need to treat my shoes, socks, and outer layers with Permethrin. Several hikers have told me they’ve begun to see more ticks. I read about one hiker being diagnosed with Lyme’s disease already this season. I also need to replace my cathole spade after breaking the blade on a root.

Planning, RePlanning, & ReRePlanning

One of my more important tasks is to re-do my itinerary. I’d like to avoid camping near the busier roads and manage my daily mileage better. One of the challenges of a supported hike versus a backpacking hike is that I can’t just stop when I’m tired or grab a few extra miles when I’m not. My daily mileage is dictated by van-accessible road crossings.

Picking one really nice meetup spot for one day could leave me with either a too short or too long next day, so I have to map out a week or two at a time. I’m only 126 trail miles from Damascus (47 miles as the crow flies), where the annual Trail Days Festival starts in 10 days. I’d like to pass Damascus before then, but be near enough to easily come back to check out the gear displays before the crush.

And unless I can successfully procrastinate once again, I’ll spend some time catching up on email and taking care of a few work items. After my nap.

Daily Stats:

  • Start: Uncle Johnny’s (Mile 334.3)
  • End: Uncle Johnny’s (Mile 334.3)
  • Weather: Rain (we picked a good day to miss)
  • Earworm: Blissfully none.
  • Meditation: Rom 12:12
  • Plant of the Day: Avacado (yes, I’ll have the guac, please)
  • Best Thing: Clean clothes
  • Worst Thing: Sitting in a laundromat

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Comments 2

  • thetentman : May 10th

    You lazy dog. Drink some beer!

    • Jon : May 10th



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