Life Sucks On the Trail
Sucks to hike when you are sick!
I left Hot Springs on a beautiful morning. Unfortunately just before leaving, I managed to sprain the same ankle again. I was still able to walk but I know I injured it enough that it was going to set me back.
I was planning on going about 10 miles then have someone pick me up so I could stay at a hostel. I was still feeling nauseated with diarrhea and stomach cramps. I did not get very far. Leaving Hot Springs, you walk along the beautiful Broad River with lots of little cascades but then you literally climb straight up for several miles. I was not able to eat anything before I left but I did bring a ginger ale with me to sip along the way. I was so weak, I literally had to sit on the trail every 1/4 mile or so. I called the hostel and they picked me up after 6 miles. As soon as I arrived, I went to sleep. Got up after 4 hours, let Yankee out and went back to sleep.
Felt a bit better in the am, so I ate a little and had the hostel drop me off about 8 miles from them. It was my first time going southbound (we call it SOBO instead of going NOBO). I figured better to do some miles than none at all. I got caught in a downpour but when you know you are hiking towards a warm bed and dry clothes, it is not too terrible. The rain only lasted for an hour and I was able to wait out the worst of it in a shelter.
The next day, I returned and finished the miles I had skipped. Again some rain but not too bad. I was still not feeling very well but managed to hike over 10 miles.
It sucks to walk in cold rain
So far I had been lucky with the weather except for the Smokies. Encountered some rain but not very much. That changed the following day. It rained all night into the next day. I asked if the cabin was available for an extra day but unfortunately it was not. The hostel owner offered to let me stay in the bunk room but a lady who was staying in it opened her mouth and said “I thought dogs were not allowed in the bunk room”. With that comment, the dye was cast, onward and upward.
It rained all day. It was also cold and windy so my hands and feet were cold. It’s funny how for the first couple of miles you try to keep your shoes dry, avoid the big puddles, practically do the split to avoid the mud, step on limbs or rocks when in reality there is no way to keep your feet dry. I don’t know why I don’t simply accept my fate and not make my life difficult. The only good thing about the rain is that I hike a bit faster to try to stay warm and I don’t stop along the way. Also Yankee finds a lot of water to drink. That day I actually wanted to climb upwards just to stay warm! When I did stop at the shelter, somebody pointed out that I had a big tear in my rain pants… of course right where my booty was. I was wondering why I had a cold butt. At least I had my colorful underwear on that day!
It sucks having ants in your bed
I ended my day at another hostel. As I went to lay my head down on the pillow, I noticed a couple dozens ants swarming on it. You can imagine I dreamt that ants were crawling on my body that night! The next night the same thing!
It sucks hiking on a bald with no views (kind of)
On the way to Erwin, the AT goes up Big Bald which is one of the highest on the trail, 5396 ft. Unfortunately it was cloudy so I was not able to enjoy the views. It was kind of neat to hike in the clouds though. Very surreal. When I made it down off Little Bald, it was finally sunny.
It sucks still being sick
I hiked again the next day and made it into Erwin. I was done. I decided to take 2 zero days to try and rest my ankle as well as gaining back some of my strength. I was forcing myself to eat even though I still suffered from occasional nausea and had no appetite. I could also tell that Yankee needed the rest. He actually slept for 2 days straight except for going out to do his business and to eat.
View coming into Erwin looking down on the Nolichucky River
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