AT Mile 165: Accomplishments and a Weekend at Home
It’s been exactly three weeks since I started my thru-hike, and I still wake up every day feelinglike the luckiest human on the planet.
Though I’m less than 10% done with the Appalachian Trail, progress is progress.
I Did Some Things
I crossed my first state line (just 13 more to go!).
Passed the 100-mile marker
Made some friends.
Drank good beer (finally!).
I’ve Learned Some Things
Your gear can make or break you. A few random pieces of gear have been the difference between a good day and a bad one for me.
I started my hike with a pair of Patagonia Baggies shorts, about which I had read a ton of reviews from women. They seem to be the perfect hiking shorts for many ladies. Not this lady. The chafe between my thighs was hot fire, and NOT the good kind of fire. Thank goodness for body glide. I’ve since switched to a pair of Mountain Hardwear shorts that are more tight-fitting, and all is well in the world again.
A Few of My Favorite Things
Earplugs: I sincerely believe that these are the most underrated, important piece of gear in my pack. You don’t know “suck” until you hike 12 miles uphill after a terrible night’s sleep.
Hoka recovery slides: I can’t figure out why these aren’t the most popular camp shoes on the market. Sure, your toes are exposed, but these were made for recovering after a marathon. They are like wonderful, ultra-supportive marshmallows under my feet. Oh, and the pair weighs five ounces (for my size, at least).
CNOC water bladder: Isaac heard about this bladder from Darwin on the Trail, and decided to order us each one. It’s amazing. It holds two liters, has a hige zipper-like top for quick filling, and screws right on to my Sawyer Squeeze. If ya know, ya know.
Therm-a-Rest ZLite: I know, this is a weird one. I’ve posted before about my issues with inflatable pads. It’s just not meant to be. My Nemo Tensor was awesome, but it stopped holding air after about two weeks. I sleep on my back, so I’m actually quite comfortable on my ZLite.
I’ve learned that quiet mornings after a rainy night are my favorite thing in the world.
I’ve learned that being hiker trash is pretty fun.
I’ve also learned that hiker hobble is REAL. Fontana Dam is only about an hour from home for Isaac and me, so we got picked up and are spending the weekend at home. Isaac and I went to see a movie Friday night, and when we got up from sitting for two hours, it was epic. Imagine an old western, with a cowboy walking bowlegged from riding a horse too long. Definitely received some odd looks in the movie theater.
So far, the most surprising aspect of the trail for me has been the social life. I planned, prepared, and methodically thought out just about every bit of this thru-hike; or so I thought. I had no idea it would be so crowded, despite knowing the hiker bubble would exist. As much as I love the people, I’m not sure I like it. I’m incredibly outgoing, and for that reason I find it difficult to relax when I’m surrounded by people. When I’m out in the woods, my goal is to enjoy peace and quiet. Of all things, I think this has been the most challenging.
After a wonderful and relaxing weekend with family, I’m itching to get back on trail and hit the Smokies. Isaac’s older sister and her husband are hiking with us through the national park, so it should be a wonderful week!
PS. The cover photo was taken by Isaac. It’s from the top of Cheoah Bald, which is by far my favorite campsite we’ve stayed at.
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