Day 50: Hiker Hobbles and Milk Flavored Water

The Hiker Hobbles

I slept well last night. The only problem I had was trying to convince myself to get up and start the day. It took me fifteen minutes. I slowly stumbled out of the tent. My entire body was sore, as per usual, and it took a minute before it looked like I only had a mild limp, not broken bones. The whole standing up after sitting or getting out of the tent very much reminds me of the scene from Wall-E where the people – who had never walked a day in their life – took their first steps. That’s me. Dozens of times a day. And I’m not alone in that either.

I went to retrieve my bear hang stuff and looked for a good, discreet place to poop. I wandered twenty feet into the brush before realizing that the Appalachian Trail was right there. Hidden away in the woods. I found a place that was kind of visible from the AT and the Virginia Creeper Trail, but not visible from camp. Nobody should be up and about at 6:30, right? I wasn’t spotted and I walked back to camp to wash my hands. I then packed up my belongings. 

Attacking Trees

I was almost finished when Sweeper and Kea showed up from the other campsite. Kea was bandaged up under his eye. I asked what happen. A branch fell from when he was doing a bear hang and it hit him in the face. It bled a lot, but it could have been so much worse. They think it will scar.

With that, we headed out. We didn’t get right onto the AT. We actually stayed on the Creeper Trail for an additional eight-ish miles. The Appalachian Trail, in that section, went 2,000 feet up and 1,600 feet down. We hiked along the nice creek and only gained 400 feet.

Passing the Time

For the first part of that section, I was conversing with Fine Young Buck. The second half, I was with Sweeper. We talked the whole way. I learned more about his life and he asked me questions about mine. It was nice. That was the longest amount of time that I have talked with him.

At the point where the AT rejoins the Creeper Trail, we stopped to eat a snack. I was hungry. No wonder, though. We hiked eight miles in two hours. Flat sections are so nice like that. Fine Young Buck laid down for a bit. His back was hurting him again. I went to fetch water and came back to everyone leaving. I filtered the water alone and put in some flavorless LMNT electrolytes. I learned the hard way that you can’t dry bump LMNT. Your heart definitely doesn’t like it and will make it known.

To Whitetop Mountain 

I hiked on. In the next eight miles, we’d gain roughly 3,300 feet. None of us were looking forward to it. The grade really wasn’t bad, but I wasn’t doing so well. I wasn’t feeling great. At a road crossing, I came across the others who were talking with Tag-A-Long. She was handing out fruit and I munched on an apple. She had to get going, so we said goodbye. We hiked on – our next meeting spot was the Lost Mountain Shelter. 

I really wasn’t doing well. It hit me that I was unwell because I was out of fuel. I wasn’t hungry per say, but my body was struggling with what I was demanding of it. The shelter was in under half a mile, though. I got there and saw that everyone else was eating lunch. It was only 10:30. There were some people who were just leaving the shelter for the day whereas we had already hiked eleven miles. Way to go us!

I went to town on what food I had. Afterwards, I laid my head on the table. “No, you can’t sleep yet.” Or so I was told. I grumbled and got up. We had the majority of the climb ahead of us.

The others hiked ahead of me and I listened to Backpacker Radio. When I first started listening to them, I always thought that the episodes were long. Really long. Now, they aren’t long enough. I listened to two today. And they were what distracted me on the climb. It kind of worked. I was more focused on the fact that the flavorless LMNT packet made my water taste like water downed milk. It was gross. I needed the salt, though. The only reason I kept drinking it was because there were no more water sources until the top of the mountain. I hated every moment. 

Buzzard Rock

I was relieved when I got to the top of Buzzard Rock. Kea and Sweeper were there and I plopped down. Fine Young Buck was behind us. I checked if I had cell service and I did. I ended up sunbathing for a bit. The sun felt great and I had no motivation to continue in that moment. The others left, though, and I called my sister and my dad before leaving also.

We were originally going to stay at a campsite at the top of the mountain. It was only 1:00, so we decided to continue going to the base. It was all downhill. I listened to music the entire way down. I passed the last place to get water and found that the source sucked. I had to hike down the hill to find a possible spot to fill up my water bag. It took me ten minutes to find a spot. The water was dirty.

Elk Garden

I sighed, and hiked 0.2 miles to the campsite. It was right next to the parking lot. That kind of sucked, but we had a privy and a trah can! Someone was performing trail magic – which included water. I dumped my dirt filled water and replaced it with clean water. I also grabbed two chicken packets, a Coke, and three bags of chips. I thanked the guy profusely before heading back to camp 100 feet away. I ate all of it, either as a snack or for dinner. Sweeper gave me some dessert thing he got from the trail magic. I ate that too. Later, Kea gave me another Coke and I had that as well. The appetite is crazy when you put in over 18 miles. 

The person performing trail magic. He hiked the trail back in the 1970s.

After all that, it was noticeably becoming colder. I changed into my camp clothes and hung out in my tent for the rest of the night.

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Comments 2

  • Tricia : May 19th

    One time I was backpacking and went “way into the woods” to dig my cathole. Turns out the trail had a sharp turn and was on the other side of the bush I was next to. I realized it as I was “taking care of business” and was so stressed the whole time praying no one would walk by. 😆 I also think it is crazy that one can hike so far to a campsite that other people just drive and park to visit. It’s so disorienting. You have been walking for weeks to get to that campsite! How dare they just drive!

    • Morgan Schmidt : May 20th

      I constantly fear that happening – especially when it’s on a hill (which is the majority of the trail). I’m getting to the point where I tell myself that I don’t care. Hikers see all sorts of things! What’s one more?


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