Just a mile, mile and a half…
I’ve been on the trail for 2 weeks now. I hit mile 200 yesterday, and getting off trail and having a night on the town seemed necessary. We celebrated making it through the knee bumming mountains of Georgia. We celebrated making it through the endless ups and downs of southern North Carolina. We celebrated making it up to the ridgeline of The Smokies. We basically celebrated the fact that we have hiked 200 miles without a zero and haven’t given up.
Dur-pa-dur joined us on day 3, and we’ve been a trio since. From what I noticed, we have a much different approach to the trail. Everyone else hikes real fast, and we just slither along, take breaks about every mile, mile and a half, and absorb everything. I haven’t set daily mileage goals. Instead, I hike the same hours each day. I’m completely ok with hiking 11 or 12 hours a day and spending more time on the trail than at camp. We hike an average of 15 miles a day doing it this way, and we are almost through the roughest part of the southern Appalachian Trail. Hikers who leave camp after us usually pass us in a hurry, but even at our pace, we still end up at the same camp as them and probably not nearly as worn out. They probably refer to us as the trio that is constantly sitting around on the trail. This approach is fairly new to me, because I used to always be in a hurry while hiking. Now that I have the time, I am stopping and smelling the roses, but still knocking out the miles like crazy. Everyone who started the same day as us is far behind us and we are now hiking with people who started the week before us.
I have learned a few things along the way:
- If someone offers you a beer, take it (unopened, of course)
- if someone offers you a Tylenol pm, take it (only if you know for a fact that is what it is)
- it’s ok to eat 1,000 calories worth of trail mix in one sitting
- never let go of your items on a supply run. Keep them in your hand at all times. (I was stuck without sandwich items because of this and sandwiches are my main food choice next to pizza. I was sad a pouted for an hour at Fontana)
- more boys carry deodorant than girls
- Forrest Gump quotes can be used at any point on the trail and are so fitting
- never trust section hikers when they ask you to make sure an item gets to Maine. 2 of my favorites made Dur-pa-dur promise that he would get a stupid wind up radio all the way up the trail and the damn thing is heavy
That’s about all for now, folks. I am about to pack everything up for the 15th time, grab some biscuits and gravy, and hit to trail to knock out the last 30 miles of The Smokies.
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