First couple of weeks
First Few Days
I arrived at Springer Mountain after a 7 hour ride. Parked at the parking lot which is 1 mile north of the summit then hiked back down to the car. I stayed at a cabin for the next few days and was able to slack pack the next 20 or so miles due to the help from great friends. For those of you who do not know what slack packing is, it is when somebody drops you off with a day pack and they meet you at the end of the day. You either can sleep in your tent there or go to a place and sleep in a real bed.
We arrived at the cabin the first night around 6:30pm and realized we would have to drive 45 minutes to get food. Lucky for us, the caretaker of the cabin lived close by and invited us over for dinner. One of the guest was from Israel (he was doing work for stay) and had the best tasting hummus ever. Now that is what I call trail magic. Again trail magic is when someone provides a service like a ride into town, food or anything that makes a hiker’s life better. The people are called trail angels.
Winter is not over
After my friends left, I was able to connect with a friend of a friend (thank you Ernie, Rhea was great) and he helped me slack pack some more. Boy was I happy because it snowed for a couple of days and it was below freezing for several nights. I loved hiking in the snow because the trees in the mountains were beautiful. It reminded me of where I grew up, skiing down the mountain, everything frosted. I just don’t like sleeping out when it is cold. I did spend one night in the tent where it was so cold, Yankee and I were both shivering all night long even with all my clothes on, he kept trying to get on my pad which pushed me off it onto the cold ground. Needless to say, I did not sleep much. The next day I hiked 9.8 miles and I wanted to quit. But I did not since they say do not quit on a bad day.
Recap since I left
So in the last couple of weeks, I have climbed over many mountains, one where I actually had to put my poles away and climb hand over foot, fun but tough. Stayed in a shitty motel where the room smelled so bad of smoke, I could hardly breathe. I have come to appreciate privy’s (in the past avoided them like the plague if I could), much better than using the outdoors, slack packing.
Have met people from Australia, Hungary, Germany, fellow Canadians. I usually don’t see them for long since I am a slower hiker. Slow and steady wins the race.
Have seen a lot of dogs out here.
Have seen a lot of young hikers limping into camp and town because they are trying to do too many miles at the beginning.
Found out that mud can be as slippery as ice and roots love to trip you up.
My lungs and thighs dislike the up hills while my foot and knees dislike the down hills.
I am getting stronger every day.
Finished one state, 13 to go.
I thought I would have trouble with my knees due to my past surgeries but it is actually my left foot that is bothering me. I have Morton’s neuroma which feels like a knife sticking in the ball of my foot when I go downhill. Have tried inserts which have helped a bit.
Took a day off today in Franklin to see a podiatrist in the hopes that a steroid shot helps the pain.
Even though I took a zero day (day where you do not hike on the trail), I walked at least 5 miles on pavement (much harder than the trail) going to the podiatrist, finding a store to resupply, go to the post office for a package. On my walk, I found a café that people had been telling me about since mile 50. It is attached to a gas station, the chef is French and I had the best salmon I have ever tasted. That is what is so amazing about the trail. You find unexpected gems and moments along the way.
That’s it for now. Will try to blog more now that I have it set up.
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