The Second 2 Weeks
Trying to find a rythmn
Extreme weather and nagging injuries have plagued us over the last couple weeks, but we’re determined to continue making constant forward motion! Currently, we are motel bound and bored to death in Newport, Tennessee. We had to visit the local hospital yesterday after Caboose suffered a minor tibial muscle tear and tendon strain during the long descent into Davenport Gap.
Thankfully, the doc said she could try to continue after a couple days off. She’s going nuts in the room while I keep icing her leg and fetching what she needs. Thankfully, tomorrow we’re catching a shuttle from Standing Bear Farm back to Brown Gap, where we had to get off trail the other day.
Lessons we’ve learned
The need to regulate both the volume and intensity of daily hiking continues to be driven home. Caboose’s injury followed 2 days of hiking most of each day in microspikes, and then over 6,000′ of descent.
This proved to be too much volume and intensity for her lower leg stabilizing muscles to maintain. Neither one of us put much thought into what wearing microspikes for 6-7 hours on very rough icey trail was doing to us. Trust me, it’s very hard on your legs…
Having said all of that, we’re both very happy we had the spikes! They’re a 12 ounce insurance policy that proved to be like 4-wheel drive for our feet. If you’re going to start your hike early, bring them. In the ice you’ll scamper by people moving along at the pace of snail while you’re as sure footed as a billy goat.
Another big learning experience deals with food. You’re going to make all kinds of plans regarding calorie intake and maildrops. You will research calories per ounce and put lots of thought into pounds of food per person, per day.
Then you’ll realize it’s all going out the window by the first week. The food in the maildrops no longer looks appetizing after a few weeks. At some point, the thought of another Cliff Bar makes you gag…
Craving protein becomes strangely overpowering. After nearly a month, neither of us wants oatmeal or other carbs for breakfast. Now, we think nothing of sharing a 1/2 block of cheese and 1/4 pound of beef jerky in the morning. Your body will crave what it needs, trust me.
Your Trail Family
As we sit here in the motel room, we’re very sad to know our new found friends are walking away down the trail. The relationships developed out here happen fast and are surprisingly deep given the short time we’ve known our group.
Hopefully, with the much smoother trail since leaving the Smokies, we’ll be back in the group in a few weeks.
Until next time, keep on keeping on!
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