Knowing When to Take a Break (Even When it Seems Too Early)
How do you know when it’s time to take a break from your thru-hike, even though it feels like you have barely just started? Well, as stated in my previous blog, you can do whatever the hell you want, when you want, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Not having fun? Take a break, simple as that. So anyways, I was not having fun, and mishap after mishap led me off-trail to work-for-stay at a hostel back in Georgia. They graciously picked me up from Franklin and brought me back to help with dishes, laundry, cleaning, and other hostel chores. I get to meet lots of other hikers, help them with their issues, and see them off to trail again, which is very strange. I wear the same clothes every day, so I am still carrying my trail dirt around. I actually really enjoy the simplicity of the tasks and meeting new people, which is probably why I was interested in thru hiking in the first place. I’ve already learned many lessons in my short time at the hostel and I look forward to pretending like I know what I’m doing on trail soon. When will that be? When I want to.
So here is the story of the final rock that broke the hiker’s toe, metaphorically, which led me to get off trail for now — my worst fear for this hike came true and I became hypothermic just shortly after crossing into North Carolina. It was a perfect storm of mishappenings that led to my rough start to the trail and also my very cold afternoon at Muskrat Creek “Shelter.” I hiked up ahead of Ally, aka Cosmic Pickle, and it was very cold and windy. I was already cold arriving into the shelter area, set up camp, ate a wrap, changed out of my clothes, and got into my quilt. About an hour later, it still felt like I was lying on an ice block (after adding more layers to my sleep clothes) and I had just fallen asleep at just three p.m., so I told Ally I was not doing well, and I recognized the signs of what was happening to me. She put her 0-degree quilt over my 10-degree quilt, gave me her beanie to wear, and made hot tea for me. After almost another hour (I think), I was still cold, shivering, fumbling my words, and generally felt like a zombie. She shepherded me out four miles to Deep Gap for a shuttle. Bobby the Greek picked us up at around 7:15 p.m. and even brought us Burger King, which warmed my soul (the car heat warmed my body). To be honest, I don’t remember much about that hike except that my phone wasn’t working and I really wanted a picture of the Chunky Gal trail sign. After we got into Franklin, were both pretty shaken up, I was even more scared by my prior state, and I just felt like I didn’t want to keep hiking, but quitting didn’t feel right. We took two days off and I still just didn’t want to hike. So I didn’t. We ate lots of food and watched lots of basketball. Ally continued on her own and I’m so proud of her, I miss her already, and I wish she had enough battery and service to FaceTime me along the entire length that she’s hiking without me. We always talked about how hard this would be to do alone, but I know that both of us are strong enough to do that anyway. And also I can’t wait to catch up to her and see her again in the next state!
This website contains affiliate links, which means The Trek may receive a percentage of any product or service you purchase using the links in the articles or advertisements. The buyer pays the same price as they would otherwise, and your purchase helps to support The Trek's ongoing goal to serve you quality backpacking advice and information. Thanks for your support!
To learn more, please visit the About This Site page.