They Call Me Snapple
So, here’s what I’ve been up to for the past couple of days. I would love to include pictures but my phone isn’t cooperating right now.
Day one: the NOC to sassafras gap shelter. 8.7 miles maybe? I don’t even know.
The climb up Nantahala Gorge was honestly just as terrible as expected. It started off chilly, I wore two layers of pants. Then it got really warm, I took off a layer of pants. Then it got straight up COLD. The extra pants went back on.
I got my trail name somewhere in there. They call me Snapple now. Because much like the Snapple caps, I have a lot of fun facts.
It started snowing little dippin-dot like snow balls about an hour from the shelter and Caboose and I both decided ice cream sounded good. Of course it stopped snowing just as soon as we got there.
The temperatures dropped after that. I was freezing, wearing just about every piece of clothing I brought with me. We stood in front of the fire for hours and then ran and jumped in our sleeping bags while we were still warm. It was a long, cold, sleepless night for me. I wasn’t as prepared for the weather as I thought.
We did meet a bunch of people that night though. Caboose and I have been hiking with a guy named Goose for the past couple days and we’ve run in to a few other people at shelters every night.
Day 2: sassafras gap shelter to brown fork gap shelter. 10 miles I think. I should keep better track.
I hardly slept at all and it snowed about an inch overnight. We estimate that it got down to around 20 degrees. Luckily it was warmer in the morning. I left camp wearing every thing I owned again, quickly shed the puffy jacket, then the wind would pick up and I’d put it back on. Basically it took me way too long to realize I needed a windbreak and not a coat. Once that was sorted I was fine.
Cheoah Bald was gorgeous! The climb up was hard for the first thing on my second day but the view was beyond well worth it.
I slipped on some icy leaves coming back down though. Tweaked my knee, kicked Caboose in the shoulder, rolled a little and then a tree caught me in the ribs. I’m pretty sure I’m alright though. My knee hurt a bit for the rest of the day but I guess we’ll see how it feels tomorrow.
The rest of the day was decent until we hit Jacobs Ladder. I don’t know who Jacob was, but he and his ladder can go burn in hell. That climb was hard af. It was probably the hardest thing I’ve climbed in the AT yet.
Camp that night was much warmer and more pleasent. We made pizza tacos over the fire, I realized I need more protein out here, and it was warm enough I actually got a decent night sleep. I also kind of burned my socks a little.
Day 3: brown fork gap shelter to Fontana lodge. 12.something miles.
Today was beautiful! It was 60ish degrees, nice easy hiking for the first part of the day and only 2 substantial climbs until the 3 or 4 miles decline into Fontana. We made decently good time considering the amount of really long breaks we take.
My knee almost feels good today. I took an anti-inflammatory in the morning and it was fine for most of the day. Bottom line is I’m not worried about it yet. I’ll try and pick up a brace in Hot Springs.
Lessons learned in the first 3 days:
bring shorts. Always. Because sometimes it goes from a freezing snowy and windy day to almost 70 and you feel like you’re going to overheat.
When drying your socks by the fire, make sure they aren’t touching any hot rocks. Because they will burn and then rip when you try to put them on.
Learn to embrace the suck. When things aren’t going well, you’ve got to stop and take a minute to enjoy the view and remind yourself why you’re out here. Think of how great you’ll feel when you finally summit that bitch of a mountain.
If you’re a cold sleeper, get a liner for your sleeping bag. It’s just worth it.
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^Handy dandy reference for shelter, road, stream, etc. mileage charts for the entire A.T. Also spoke with Zach. I’m going to put together an Excel spreadsheet and upload it to Google Docs in the hopes that people will update it with their daily mileage, anything note worthy (trail magic at Rt 32, this shelter sucks, etc.), where they are taking NEROs and ZEROs. That kind of thing. It’ll be interesting to see where the mileage starts to creep up, keep track of the people in front/behind you. I want it to be helpful to the hiker as well as the cubical dweller.