Getting all caught up
Sorry for the lack of posts so far. between hiking, socializing, and fantasizing about food I haven’t put too much time aside for writing. But I think I’m finally getting into a groove and am trying to fit writing into my daily routine
Instead of getting boggled down in trying to recount everything that I’ve done so far, instead I’ll just give an idea of what my average day is like.
First off, I should address my trail name. It’s Princess Peach. As you may have guessed, I was initially hesitant to accept the name. I won the hat I’m always wearing in a mariokart64 competition. I played as princess peach. But after some time, I actually really like it. For a few reasons: Everyone usually remembers my name, it always makes people smile, I don’t get confused with anyone else, and I can gloat about how kickass I am at mariokart64.
Now for my routine:
I’m usually up between 6:30 and 7. I found a great way to make real coffee in the morning (mix the grounds into my jetboil and pouring that through a tea diffuser to filter out the grounds. Kind of like a reverse French press) and make a batch for my core group of hiker friends: Mountain Goat, Survivor, and Hot Toddie.
I’ve been with Mountain Goat and Survivor since midway through my first week and Hot Toddie joined us around Hot Springs two weeks ago. We had one more in our group, Moonshine, but he just went off trail for a week to attend a wedding. The other group we’ve been with since Fontana Dam is the Warrior Hike group. It’s a group of 10 military veterans that are hiking the trail through a nonprofit and have scheduled visits in trail towns at local VFWs. They’re crazy fun, we consistently hike with four of them: Buffalo Soldier, Sleeping Beauty, Bad Apple, and Helton
After breakfast I’ll break down my tent and get a look at what’s ahead for the day. Recently I’ve been averaging about 15 miles/day. It looks like the terrain gets a little easier when I hit Virginia, so hopefully I can bump it up to a 20 mile average. (I addressed my mileage in a previous post). I usually hike by myself. I’m a faster hiker than everyone else in my group except Mountain Goat, so for the first few miles we’ll usually put some time in together. But come lunch time, I’ll wait for the group to catch up and Mountain Goat will usually pull ahead for most of the day.
I’ve recently been getting great at breaks. It took me a while to realize that since we have a destination picked out for the end of the day it doesn’t matter if I race there or not, so I’ve been taking my time. Two days ago I posted up at a shelter at the top of Roan Mountain for about 3 hours waiting for everyone to catch up. I made a fire, made some mashed potato burritos, and took a nap. During the second half of that day I helped Hot Toddie collect ramps to roast over the fire for dinner.
That pretty much gets you up to speed on my routine. So my plan for the future is to put a couple paragraphs together about each day with a picture or two and post it once or twice a week.
It seems like everyday is better than the last. I definitely felt that today. Last night we camped near a river but it started storming just as we got our tents up, so we didn’t go swimming. We made up for it today. With the sun shining bright we dried off our tents while we went swimming in one of the most picturesque spots I’ve ever camped.
We finally left camp around 11:30, and all met up at a waterfall a few miles down trail. It made for a perfect shower and we had a big party under it for about about half hour.
To add to the day, the trees are finally starting to bloom! I was starting to get tired of all the empty trees. In addition to it looking boring, it doesn’t block out any sun during the hike. Us gingers love shade. And I’m finally getting some.
After grabbing a Dr. Pepper and some more stove fuel at the hostel, we stayed the night at shelter and Survivor surprised us all with hotdogs! I added it to my instant rice and tortilla and made a burrito. It was a perfect end to the day
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Awesome, Patrick! I was curious as to what the average day would be like for you. The picturesque campsite looks fantastic. Hope all is well! You’re missed in Bethlehem, but I’m loving / anxiously awaiting your updates from the trail. Godspeed, friend.
P.S. As I was reading the “Appalachian Trials” book, I wondered what your trail name would be. Princess Peach is completely suitable for your described reasons 😀
Glad to hear you’ve found some buddies out there and that you’re a faster hiker than most, Princess Peach.
Makes me wonder what Scoober’s trail name will be…