Trail Update #2: the week of the first milestones
Hello from North Carolina!
This past week held a number of firsts and first milestones, but the outpouring of concern I got after my last post requires a brief health update before I get into the good stuff:
The Bee’s Knees
Thank you so much to everyone who reached out to me with advice about my knees! Again, as I write, I’m laying in a hostel bed icing my knees, but now it’s much more about keeping them happy rather than pain management. For me, I think the cold weather was a major factor in my knee troubles. The cold had me hiking too fast in order to keep warm, and not drinking enough water – both important things I’ve since (mostly) corrected. I find it really hard to drink enough water, both on and off the trail, but especially when it’s chilly out. (Best trick I’ve learned is to add Gatorade or Emergen-C for flavor – and electrolytes!). I also find it really hard to go slowly, but that has probably made the biggest difference in feeling a bit better over the last week. Oh, and stretching. All the stretching. I really appreciate the tidbits of good advice I’ve gotten – LOL including the advice about how to deal with my irrational horror-movie-image-based-fear when peeing in the middle of the night!!! ?? I feel much better physically and much less anxious about potentially not being able to hike. Speaking of which….
The Good Stuff!
The week, in summary: on Monday the crew headed back to the trail for an easy day, we walked about 4 miles to a campsite called the Cheese Factory (which I kept accidentally calling the Cheesecake Factory, and so it has since become). The rest of the week we were feeling pretty good so hiked bigger miles – 13, 12, 12, and 14-ish -before making it to Franklin, North Carolina where we’re now finishing up our first zero day, a rest day where we’re not walking any miles (except not really, I’ll get to that later).
And Now for the Firsts
We crossed our first state border (bye bye, Georgia!) and crossed our first major mileage milestone (100 miles hiked!).
The day we hiked into North Carolina was really tough for me. It was gorgeous out, but it was the first day that really felt like I was trudging. But what are you gonna do?! Just keep putting one foot in front of the other – LOL in my case I had literally no other option anyway! ? I’m sure there will be plenty more like that to come, as there are off the trail as well. The following days were a whole lot better – I stopped for a proper lunch each day which really helps, the weather has been pretty good, and we’re traveling in a bubble of really cool people (and dogs!) we get to hike and camp and zero with.
The Medium Ones:
We took our first real zero in Franklin, NC. Dan was unsure what we would actually DO on the zero (because simply NOT WALKING is completely out of the question?!?) but, let me tell you, there is plenty. There is a whole group of us in town, so we all spent an evening at the Lazy Hiker brewery; the crew went to Bojangles for breakfast to continue my fast food education (or really because Wes has been talking about it non-stop for a week); and we saw Beauty and the Beast with new friends Scotty and Laura.
I seem to finally be getting the hang of A) setting up and taking down camp efficiently and B) planning my food. It seems unimportant, but having a little system for tent organization really helps to feel normal; and carrying too much food (as I’ve been doing) is pretty frustrating.
The Little but Still Important Things:
This week, a couple times, I actually looked up at the sky and the stars in the middle of the night instead of rushing back into my tent – and it is truly gorgeous and amazing. It’s been a while since I’ve lived in the mountains and been able to appreciate the full, starry night sky.
We hitchiked for the first time! We had walked 3 miles to go to the movies, and really didn’t want walk back (it was supposed to be a zero, after all). Asking for a hitch is a whole lot more awkward and embarrassing than I expected it to be, but a very lovely couple ended up driving us back into town and to the grocery store. Thanks, guys!
Lastly, I got my trail name: snapchat. A combo of having taken over this website’s Snapchat account for the first week I was on the trail; being on my phone a lot; and (I’d like to think) just generally being chatty. Thank you, Dan.
Onward to Fontana Dam
It’s been nice to be in town, rest, and be clean, but the crew seems all itching to get back to the trail. We have a couple days to hike before we meet up with our long-lost (aka she was farther ahead of us and we’re finally catching up to her) 4th crew member, Bearbait; and Dan’s mom who will join us as we head toward the Smokies!
Happy hiking and more to come…
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