Day 7- On The 7th Day, Then There Was More Hiking

Today was my first 100% Chaco day. And it wasn’t half bad. The uphills are definitely more pleasant than the downhills in them. Regardless I’m enjoying them more and more.

I’ve also been free of any new blisters over the last 72 hours (small victories). I removed all my prior leukotape yesterday and slept without socks on (not my norm). Today I cleaned my feet again and reapplied leukotape to the 2 remaining that were not yet healed. I’ll have a future post on blister management here.

Day 7 started off at 12:07 AM when Gandalf barged into our shared room, obliterated drunk. I wasn’t even mad. It was one of the more entertaining things I’ve seen all week. Apparently a senior citizen in Helena tried to proposition him for (let’s call it “activities”) in the restroom of the bar they were at. He declined.

The trend of having an actual bed to sleep in has done wonders for my sleep quality and overall state of mind. I slept in until 8:30. We woke up and had the continental breakfast of coffee, honeybuns and oatmeal. The lack of protein options was depressing. I took probably more honeybuns and salt/sugar packets for the road than I was allowed.

The Chattahoochee river was literally right next to our hotel. I spent about 20 minutes with my feet in the water contemplating life’s decisions. Decisions like “who walks 2200 miles?”

On the 7th day there was supposed to be rest. Gandalf and Gavin decided to take a zero. But after my cold plunge I was feeling pretty ok. I didn’t need to do laundry and had enough food for the next 2 days before my next stop at Dick’s Creek Gap. So because there’s no rest for the wicked, I pressed on.

I got a ride to the trailhead from Paul and Will. They head back to Illinois after completing their section hike. Thanks again old chaps.

Todays hike welcomed me with over 1000ft in elevation gain over 1.4 miles. That equals an average grade of 13.5%, oof. That was followed by roughy the same numbers, but on the way down, double oof. And then I polished off the day with another 1280ft in elevation gain over 2.5 miles, triple oof. All totaled I did about 6.3 miles and have a pretty neat campsite at the Tray Mountain Shelter.

Random thought of the day: “To the victor, goes the spoils”. What the hell are “Spoils”? It sounds like bad milk. Apparently it’s an old political reference (I looked it up, you’re welcome).

While walking I also found a tick on my leg. It was the second tick I’ve found in the last week. Neither had bitten me and I flicked them off without injury.  However, as I head further North into Lyme Disease endemic areas I’ll need to be more diligent. I have plenty of doxycycline though just in case.

I’m calling it early tonight, tomorrow is an 11 mile day to Dicks Creek Gap and fingers crossed Around The Bend Hostel has a canceled reservation (AKA availability for me).

Stow way in my pack for Day 8 tomorrow!

You can follow Derek on Instagram @Barkleycharles

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