First overnight hike
Wow! I did it! And now my body hurts in muscle groups it never knew it had. I packed my bag, met Aviator at her home, did a final gear check, and headed out on the trail. The weight felt great! If I had to guess, I was carrying around 25-30lbs. One things for sure, I do not believe I could hike comfortably with a pack without hiking poles- that support is crucial for getting up inclines and keeping your balance crossing streams.
We ran into two SOBO’s. The one this morning said he started the trail in July, his ‘Trail Family’s’ name is “Take off your pants or get out”—I would love to know how that name resonated.
Aviator and I got to camp only to find a group of boy scouts…it turned out not to be a problem. I am not going to lie, I felt a little self-conscious of my hiking and outdoors knowledge compared to these kids. Aviator and I practiced setting up my hammock and rain-fly. We fixed a spot in the shelter, prepared and ate dinner.
Aviator has two stoves; a pocket rocket (which I borrowed) and a jetboil- before last night the whole portable stove/cooking process was extremely foreign to me. I am stoked to get a stove of my own and see what types of freeze dried or dehydrated foods are out there. For dinner, I ate freeze dried chicken and rice, a combination where you boil the water and pour it straight into the bag. For breakfast this morning, I made instant oatmeal (my go-to everyday in the ‘real world’) and instant coffee. I would like to make it a priority of mine to eat as many vegetables as I can while on the AT, I understand that a lot of camping food options and hikers’ diets are not the most nutritious…
I loved every second of being at camp. I like the mindless tasks, “the nesting”, and the small talk. At one point, I had the “hiker log book” from the shelter and found myself getting lost in the interesting names, little notes being relayed to friends, and some drawings and cartoons. Then I stumbled across a little surprise…Warren Doyels signature! I couldn’t help but laugh to myself considering how close I was to meeting this man–who otherwise is still a complete stranger with an impressive resume.
Apparently, “9 o’clock is hikers midnight” so we went to bed relatively early. I was having a hard time getting to sleep because it was below 30 degrees and I couldn’t shake the chill in my bag. I look forward to trying my hammock out and seeing if that sleep is easier on my joints and with my z-pad curved to my body if that would help with the warmth.
Waking up with the sun was a gift. With Fall in full force, all the trees are yellow, orange, and red– forming a rich, full canopy that glitters when the sun shines through it. I loved sitting by the fire, hearing Aviators’ stories, drinking instant coffee, and slowly feeling my heart fill with a warmth and a peace in knowing that this is exactly where I need to be. I found myself smiling at the sight of my breath in the cold air. The stillness was captivating. I didn’t want to go home.
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