Day 90 – We Caught A Real Live Rabbit!!!
It’s nice to be over with marathon week and not striving to hit a specific number of miles regardless of how your body feels. It would be nice to just be able to take each day as it comes and appreciate each new milestone and attraction the trail has to offer. That said, there’s a new challenge to undertake today, “the half-gallon ice cream challenge”.
I slept in at the mansion hostel. I had a whole dorm room of 12 different bunk beds and the whole place to myself. Today was ice cream challenge day. Ice cream for breakfast, yes please (sorry mom). “But you’ll ruin your breakfast.” Well you know what mom, I’m going to have breakfast tomorrow and the next day and the next. So if I want to ruin this one, I will.
To celebrate reaching the halfway mark on the trail you try to eat a 1/2 gallon of ice cream as quickly as you can. For those wondering, the current record is 3 minutes, and some change. First was to select my ice cream flavor. I was debating between moose tracks and butter pecan. I went with moose tracks because peanut butter cups are life. In retrospect, what I should have chosen was sorbet. After opening my ice cream top, I started a timer and dug in.
Rabbit and I had been joking I should get a pint of ice cream from a store or gas station and put it in my insulated shaker cup to keep it cold and drink it like a milkshake. Now that’s a strategy I might have employed if it wasn’t a frowned upon technique. I had made pretty decent headway after 15 minutes or and had finished roughly 60% of the container.
Bites were interspersed by conversation with my table mate “Neo.” He and I met in Georgia at a campsite right after Neil’s Gap. Neither of us had trail names then, and we both now have big beards we didn’t have back then. It was nice reconnecting with him.
By 20 minutes there was a significant slow down as I was starting to feel full. The longer I waited the warmer the melted ice cream got and less appetizing it tasted. I struggled to get more down and eventually gave up at the hour mark. I wasn’t trying to make myself sick today. Neo had managed to finish all of his with seconds to spare in the hour. I went back to the hostel to pack (which was conveniently right next door).
Packing took at least an hour between being on my phone and other distractions. Once back outside I ordered a burger to eat by the lake. Neo and I had talked about meeting down there but given my tardiness I wasn’t sure he’d still be there. I also checked out the Appalachian Trail Museum on my way to the lake. It had the original hand-drawn sketches mapping out the trail and other historical exhibits.
After that I went down to the lake to see if anyone I recognized was around (they weren’t). I jumped in anyways because I’m a sucker for bodies of water I can submerse myself in. Then I got a soda from the snack bar next to the lake and was off down the trail again.
The day looked fairly cruise-y however I wasn’t sure how my foot would hold up. It ended up being a champ and putting up a fair number of miles (more than I had anticipated). Wrapping my mid foot with athletic tape (found in a hiker box) turned out to be a decent suggestion by Rabbit. I enjoyed a number of spots (“features” as Rabbit would like to call them). I was told there’s a pretty neat pool just off trail. It was an old Girl Scout pool (“pool feature”) that stopped getting maintained and now it has old growth trees growing inside of it!
Rabbit had started the day 10 miles ahead. He had started hiking and made it to the next town of Boiling Springs. If I did 20 miles I could make it there. I was hesitant to agree to getting all the way to town because, I was still worried about my foot from the day prior.
But the miles seemed to come easy. With keeping a keen focus on the happenings of my foot, 5 miles in, 10 miles. Rabbit and I spoke about our plans for the evening and where we would stay?
15 miles in I came to a series of mountain crests and boulders. The trail weaved in, out, and over these rock formations (features). I’ll be honest, it was a lot of fun. Reminiscent of a McDonald’s play place but with rocks and white blazed directions. I asked Rabbit if these rock mazes go through the next 3 mountain peaks also? It was starting to get dark and would be confusing to navigate in a headlamp at night. He said this was the only section.
I made it down the last downhill into boiling. Springs very quickly. It was already dark and I’d been hiking with my headlamp for 2 hours already. Rabbit met me and was easy to spot with his headlamp on. We walked together to the gas station in town in hopes of a snack but they were closed. I charged my devices outside on a bench there and we caught up on the happenings on my almost 2 weeks apart.
It was good to be with tramily again. Hiking alone has its place but the trail experience and enjoyment comes from sharing it with others. It’s good to get back to some normalcy and regularity again. I appreciate Rabbit for sandbagging and allowing me to catch up.
We found (created) a stealth site to camp at in the woods. There was a lot of leaf litter to move around before setting up. To be honest it was prime tick country.
Find out if we got any when you stow away in my pack for day 91 of the Appalachian Trail.
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