Good Morning, Yesterday for my birthday i decided to do nothing and sit back and relax. I was finally able to post and see the comments everyone has left. It’s amazing. Between the poems, well wishes, and just greetings I become filled with joy from the support everyone has given me. It feels wonderful and motivates me. Thank you so much.
I also have come across a couple of questions while reading the comments that I’d like to address. If I have missed one, please forgive me.
I saw a question regarding what I eat. I can’t say this is for all hikers but it’s close. Because we have to carry our food, we have to make sure they are light in weight but also filling. For breakfast, some cook up oatmeal and have their instant coffee. While breakfast is my favorite meal in the real world, on trail I like to get up and go. While I’m packing up my gear I usually enjoy a Clif Bar, which are high in calories, and then about an hour or two into my hike I’ll eat a granola bar or trail mix as a second breakfast.
For lunch, it’s usually a bit of peanut butter or a tuna packet with crackers. Lately it’s been a tortilla with peanut butter. I know it’s odd but we have to get in calories anyway we can. The tortillas help us get in another 200 calories or so and with burning 4000-6000 a day, we need it.
Dinner is my favorite meal on trail. It gives me an opportunity to get a little creative. Dinner usually consists of one or two Ramen noodle packets with some seasoning. Sometimes I’ll add it in a tuna or spam packet for some protein. Also, I’ll sprinkle in some instant mash potatoes to thicken it up. Other dinner foods include Knorr side dishes which are pretty flavorful but a tad heavier than Ramen, instant mash potatoes, and anything else we can boil up in a few minutes. We have to save our gas for our stoves also.
Another question was about wildlife I’ve come across. For me I’ve only come across a wild turkey. Of course some of the usual wildlife like birds and squirrels and such. Down here there are brown and gray squirrels. Those brown ones are fast. I have heard some other hikers come across bears and such but we have to stay away of course and be careful. We never know what’ll be around the next bend. Ah, I do remember coming a cross a small bunch of deer which was very pretty to watch. I think now that it’s warmer there will be more wildlife out there.
Well I have to get back on trail in a bit. I have a couple of big mile days coming up to get into Damascus, VA so look out for that. There’s a big trail festival I’d like to make there which should be fun.
it’s been a while since my last post but service and wifi had pretty sparing. Tonight staying at the Mountain Harbor Bed & Breakfast and it’s been nice since I got here this morning. I’ve heard people rave about the breakfast and their stay here so with my birthday tomorrow I decided to take a nice day in here and get back on trail sometime tomorrow. The breakfast by the way was nothing short of amazing. I woke up early to hike a mile in to get here at 8 in time and was surprised by a monster country kitchen with a slew of breakfast dishes. It really blew my mind and with breakfast being my favorite meal of the day, it immediately put a smile on my face. A great way to start the day. Two others and I already resupplied for the next few days with lucky hitch hiked into town. We had all of our errands done by noon and now time to catch up on laundry and a hot shower. A luxury on trail I tell you. Hikers are know for what we call our stank. There’s a saying on trail to ‘Embrace the Stank’. No matter what we do or how far we go, we’re going to smell.
The past few weeks have been pretty great. Getting small miles in but quite tough in some areas. A few nights ago at Roan Mountain and the Overmountain Shelter it snowed. As much as three inches in some areas. With snow sometimes comes rain and wind and with that, mud. Mud changes the game in this world. It slows us down because with every step there’s sliding. I took a good fall yesterday getting out of the fog and 30 mile per hour winds on Hump Mountain but luckily didn’t hurt anything. It’s all part of the game. Unfortunately, there’s wasn’t a good view with the dense fog but was nice to weather the storm and get out of it. The reward with the breakfast this morning was worth it. Work hard, play hard.
Over the last weekend my spirits were a little down and felt a little homesick but with good hiking buddies and nice people all around me, I’ve realized things aren’t so bad. I’m having fun. We have tough times and sometimes really bad times but the laughs and cheers with others make it all worth it. The trail community really bring things to light. Just like today with people going out of their way to give us a ride for a few miles. As said ‘The trail provides’. And I find it really does. Sometimes things just come together and wonderful things come out of it. I’m finding a bigger appreciation for life. We’re lucky to be out here and I would suggest anyone to even try living the hiker life and get what they can out of it. Simplicity really helps my appreciate what I have and what’s around me. Especially those in my life like family, great friends and health.
The next few days should be pretty nice. The terrain getting into Virgina is much less hilly and I’ll be able to get some really big miles in. I’m really looking forward to it. By the way, I am out of North Carolina for good. The trail borders NC and TN for quite some time and it’s to have another state off the list. TN will be off over the next five days or so and I’ll be hitting the 400 mile marker pretty soon. Some big things to come over the next few days and I’m looking forward to it.
If by any means I had to get off trail today, I’d be really happy and confident in myself for what I’ve accomplished. Even the small wins are a win. And the losses are something we learn from. Overcoming that first step in fear, I believe, is the biggest step. Do your best and try not to think of the big picture and what’ll it’ll take to get there. I’m learning taking smaller steps and understanding what’s in front of you is better but that’s just me. It’s like writing a paper, you can’t just sit down and write a whole paper without doing research first.
Over time, I’ll try to post more pictures. I’m seeing some great views recently I’d like to share but of course, service and wifi willing. The hills are tough but the view from the top is the reward.