Days 1-6: A Few Tears, a Gash, and 50 Miles Later
Let me start by saying I’m a mess. It’s not uncommon for me to have food on my face. Growing up the running joke was me having spaghetti sauce on my forehead (it happened on several occasions). But I’m also just a general mess. I bumble around and hope I don’t do anything too stupid or too dangerous. This hasn’t changed by me being on the AT. For instance today I dried my pants with fish oil vitamins in the pockets today. Guess who smells a little fishy??
I’ll admit initially I had a little bit of a rough go, not that any of this has been easy. Saturday I left the warm embraces of my mother and the comforts of society to begin my journey north. A bit teary and a whole lot unsure I hiked off into the fog.
Day 1 saw me at Hawk Mtn Campsite sitting in my tent upset that no one wanted to talk with me. Keep in mind I was sitting in my tent alone, upset that no one was talking to me… Like someone was going to knock on my shelter and go out of their way to talk to me. Trust me I understand the irony. Either way I cried myself to sleep (or at least shed some tears).
Day 2 was when the adventure began. About a mile and a half into my hike I was walking along and BAM! roll one ankle on one of the two rocks and my knee to the other. To make a long story short, no I didn’t rip my pants but yes I gashed my knee. Unsure what to do, I hobbled to a log and sat. Bad things happen to other people, and of course I didn’t pack enough supplies. And here I sat with a knee that probably needed stitches miles from the next road.
Luckily a trio of hikers came across me in my predicament. I took some of my baby wipes, folded them, and held them on with a bandana (not my pee rag!). Later one the hikers, an older man who seemed knowledgeable told me to super glue it. It stopped bleeding and on I hiked.
Upon reaching Gooch Mtn Shelter, (I’m only hiking with one pant leg zipped off), the ridge runner (who I referred to as Doc) asked me, “What happened to you?” My response? “I fell.” (Real original I know). Well burly man Doc fixed me up, scolded me for using glue but said I probably wasn’t going to need an amputation. After thanking him, I promptly walked off and stumbled (not falling this time) and made a terrible dinner. Literally the worst dinner. After a terrible dining experience I fell again ripping the bandage. Doc one again fixed me up earning me the trail name of “Training Wheels.” And then it snowed.
Dearest burly man ridge runner Doc, you are my hero. You can bandage me up any day.
In comparison, the rest of the days have been peachy. When something seems bad I ask myself, “Did you gash anything today?” (No) “Is your food edible?” (Yes because all I can cook well is couscous so that’s all I eat) “Is it snowing?” (Probably not)
I have been fortunate in that the hiking community is so supportive and welcoming. And I’ve met some great people and learned a lot (like you probably shouldn’t put superglue in a giant gash and that I shouldn’t consider bear bagging as a profession).
Today found me at Unicoi Gap and a Nero at Top of Georgia Hostel. Initially I was planning for this to be tomorrow. However they’re calling for severe thunderstorms and I though “ah, rather not.” I’m clean-ish, warm-ish, and not hungry so life is good. (Also 6 days without a shower has been the longest I’ve ever gone. Being clean-ish feels dayum good).
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