Shutterbug’s Update #3
Before I started hiking the Appalachian Trail I had a plan to journal every night & to keep this blog updated weekly. Clearly my plan failed. That’s just something you deal with every day on the trail though. You make a plan to hike 15 miles but then at mile 11 your feet refuse to work anymore so you decide to set up camp. Or you stay at Black Bear Resort in Hampton TN, spend the next day watching movies, eating ice cream & pizza, hike a mile and a half to Laurel Falls, swim with your friends for an hour or so, and then decide you’re going to night hike over Pond Flats. But a mile after the falls you find a perfect camp spot so you stop hiking for the day. My tramily and I have started calling these curveballs.
If there’s anything I’ve learned from hiking the trail it’s to go with the flow and when the trail hands you a curveball, laugh it off and enjoy what the trail has given you. I’m about a month behind on my journal writings which to me is more important than keeping a weekly update of this blog. So for now I’ll continue to make lists of the things I’ve learned since my last update. Y’all seem to like those posts anyway. Without further ado, here are the biggest lessons I’ve learned since leaving the vortex of Hotsprings NC. (Yes, I made I out alive!)
- If you make it out of Hotsprings, NC in under a week you should pat yourself on the back. Congrats! The vortex didn’t suck you in!
- Don’t eat two days worth of food for dinner your first night after resupplying. You’re gonna regret having to pass your friends & hike bigger mileage days to get to the next town.
- You’re an adult which means you can do whatever you want. That includes eating whatever you want. You’re burning a shit ton of calories anyway so you might as well eat a tortilla with fluff, peanut butter, chocolate, and honey on it.
- The trail will seem to get easier as time goes on but that’s just because you’re a badass hiker and are getting stronger each day.
- If someone in your tramily suggests taking a zero day to watch the new power rangers movie, take it. You won’t regret it.
- Slackpacking is not cheating no matter what people say. They don’t call it thru-backpacking for a reason. So just ignore the jerks that’ll judge you for not wanting to carry a small child on your back for 2000+ miles. Also, slackpacking southbound isn’t cheating either. You’re still hiking the same miles as everyone else.
- Forget being careful on trail. If you’re anything like me you need to be careful while walking in town. Exhibit A:
This happened right in front of Miss Janet’s van and gave me the new trailname Town Tumbles.
- You’re never going to be able to hike with the same tramily for the entire trek but it’s definitely worth it to try to keep everyone together if it isn’t a hassle. While in Erwin, myself and Little Foot slackpacked 20 miles while the rest of our group hiked half as much. The next day Miss Janet dropped the boys off at Beauty Spot and then dropped us girls off where we were on trail. We sat with the guys’ packs while they slackpacked to us. We made a comfy bed out of the packs to take a nap on and it was nice only having to walk a mile and a half afterwards to where we all planned to camp together. And our tramily was able to stay together!
- It’s nice to have a tramily to hike with when walking through constant 50mph winds. It’s especially nice when your tramily is all okay with staying at a hostel because curveball there’s a delicious restaurant to get food from and it’s getting late & none of you really wanted to continue hiking in the wind anyway…
- Waking up to your tent wall on your face sucks. Especially when it happens because of the fact that there’s 2 inches of snow on the ground that wasn’t supposed to be there. It’s nice to have friends to cheer you up on such a shitty, snowy, & freezing cold day.
- Getting pink eye on trail sucks. I don’t recommend it. Trying to contact my doctor and have a prescription filled on a Saturday in a town in the middle of nowhere TN was a nightmare.
- A little bit of sunshine and friendship can make a huge difference in how the day is going to be.
- When you come across a beautiful waterfall with a swimming hole don’t pass up the chance to swim.
- The Watuga Dam visitor center may be a half a mile off trail but it is a great place to seek refuge from a thunderstorm. Just make sure you don’t leave your gear in the bathrooms to dry after 8pm because otherwise you’re going to have to call the police to get the doors unlocked so you can get your shit back…
- If you’re having a good day make a flower bouquet and leave it somewhere where everyone can see it. Hopefully you’ll brighten up someone else’s day.
- Cowboy camp whenever you can. There’s nothing better than waking up in the middle of the night to a sky full of twinkling stars.
- At trail days you can get a number of free things. One of those being a free haircut. It may not look the best but it was free.
- You’re gonna meet the most awesome people out here and they’re going to become some of your best friends. Why they put up with you though you will never know but you’re thankful to have them in your life.
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Great pictures. It really is all about the friends you hike with.