Getting Trail Legs (and A Little Homesick) Before Getting on the Trail
Feeling ALL the feelings!
In eleven days I’ll finally be on the trail. ELEVEN DAYS!
I’m feeling all the feelings. ALL the feelings–excitement, apprehension, dread, butterflies, joy. It’s all there rolling around inside.
Like I’ve rooted around in the fridge and ferreted out every leftover that isn’t growing fur. Then I’ve thrown them all into a giant bubbling pot of mystery soup. I have no idea what to expect when it hits my palate, but I’m hoping for bizarrely tasty, or at least good in a weird way.
(Speaking of cleaning out the fridge, I should probably put that on my to do list. There’s a pot of “good in a weird way” soup in my future!)
Even though I’m flip-flopping from Grayson Highlands State Park, I still feel like I’m getting off to a late start. Thankfully, I have access to mountains, so I’ve been able to build up some terrain-appropriate miles. I’m hoping that my daily 8-mile hikes will mean I can build up quickly to some decent miles so I can make it to Katahdin by mid-September.
Okay, full confession. I’ve slacked on my training, so when I say daily 8-mile hikes, I mean that’s happened exactly twice at the time of this writing.
So, now it’s on the blog, so I have to follow through, right?
Here’s what my training week looked like from 4/8 to 4/14.
Saturday, 4.8.17, 8 miles.
Mountains to Sea Trail (MST)…Ox Creek to Rattlesnake Lodge and Beyond!
Flurries in the morning, windy, cool, some snow at the top.
This old favorite follows a ridge at first then drops into a gap before switchbacking up and around to the southern side of the mountain. The gap is a wind tunnel that blows the warmth right out of you. But turn the corner, and it’s spring and the layers start coming off.
The spring under the tree is filled and flowing today. I’m happy to carry less water and stop here to let my Sawyer squeeze filter work it’s magic!
There was still a decent amount of snow on the ground at the top where we stopped for lunch. Enough so that Rico, my big red poodle, did the happy dance, bowing and spinning and running around in circles like a puppy with a new ball. His joy is infectious.
It gave me a pang of pre-homesickness to think he won’t be with me making me laugh with his goofy sweet ways.
Sunday, 4.9.17, 8 miles.
Mountains to Sea Trail (MST), Ox Creek to Rattlesnake Lodge, and Beyond!
Sunny, warm, breezy at the top.
I spend a lot of time looking at the ground while I walk. There are enough roots and rocks on the trail to keep me on my guard about where I put my feet. The good news is that there is magic happening right now on the ground in the woods! Things are pushing up towards the light and declaring their intention to thrive!
This week, I’m tweaking my sock system and finding out why everyone raves about toe socks. Feeling the love for Injinji!
Wednesday – Thursday, 4.12 – 4.13, Overnighter + 7 miles
Mountains to Sea Trail in the Middle Prong Wilderness.
Time to test out some gear, namely my summer quilt.
Here’s what I learned: it’s still too early for a summer quilt. Way too early! Dang it was cold.
I thought the night would never end. My sleeping pad deflated, so my hips hurt. My quilt is too short (for cold sleeping), so I couldn’t stretch out without my head popping out of my little cocoon and making me even colder. The moon was full, so my tent was lit up like a shopping mall. There was frost on the tent in the morning when I got up to do jumping jacks to get warm.
Also, I found out in the morning that my husband had one of those emergency blankets in his pack that he’d forgotten about. Sigh. His pack is huge! There must be all kinds of good stuff in there that has been forgotten.
On the plus side:
- I nailed the bear bag hanging part of the trip. Yay!
- We saw an incredible shooting star that sailed the entire length of the sky. (Turned out to be a meteor doing a fly-by low in the atmosphere.)
- We were serenaded by an owl for an hour or so.
- Had fun picking out stars and constellations with the Sky Guide app.
- The hike the next day is one of my all-time NC favorites for beauty, solitude, difficulty. Gorgeous!
Total miles for the week: 23
Next week, I up my mileage for my long hikes to ten. Wish me luck!
Total poodles conquered: 1
P.S. I love to connect. Find me on Instagram or on Facebook or at my own website, Ruby Throat Journal, where you can pick up my how-to e-book full of delicious Freezer Bag Recipes or shoot me an email.
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