Before I start a post, I need everyone to think/pray for my friend Connie. We went to college together and were roomates for a year before she graduated. She was pregnant with triplets. Just about the time that Ashleigh was born I found out she was having triplets and that it had been touch and go and she could deliver early like Asheligh was. I just read her blog post and she has lost all three of the babies, two born alive to later pass and another stillborn. All with names and teeny tiny weights. She has a nearly six year old son who was desperately wanting a brother (all three were boys). Please, please, think of them. I am incredibly sad for her right now. Connie, if you are reading, I am thinking of you a lot, ok? *hugs* my friend.
From the title of the post we are in Hiawassee, near the border of North Carolina. Tomorrow we shall cross into North Carolina…whew! What a trip this has been.
Since I last wrote, the weather has gotten better. In fact, today is the most beautiful day. We left Neel’s Gap (or is it Neel Gap like the sign says at at Mountain Crossings?) and went for Cowrock which had a nice campsite to watch our first sunset on the trail. It was a beautiful spot and we had it to ourselves (and kinda warded off 12 college age hikers who came up when they realized there wasn’t room for that many tents).
We’ve been leap frogging a guy name Cob, aka: Crazy Old Bastard (name his daughter gave him) real name: Joe from Maryland. He’s probably in his early 60’s, nice guy and we’re apparently on the same pace. He stayed at Wolf Laural Top just about a mile south of where we did. We climbed out of Cowrock and made our way for Blue Mtn for the night, stopping in Low Gap shelter for lunch. We ran into Llano (on Trailjournals) who had started a week ago this past Wednesday and was taking her time as were a few others.
We by far aren’t the fastest nor the slowest, we’re somewhere in the middle, there’s a guy named Jackal from England (maybe Ireland…?) who has been blowing everyone out of the water, doing nearly 20 mile days already. Then of course there are the 8-miler folks, who go shelter to shelter. We left the big group we had been with at Neel’s Gap where they stayed at a hostel so now we are somewhere in the middle and picking up the slower people who were ahead of us. Of course, now that we are taking a half day, they will all catch up.
My left ankle has started hurting. We came down a fairly flat/downhill trail for a good distance but it was sloped a bit and well, for some reason my left foot likes to take the brunt of things, like stepping on rocks the wrong way or happening to be the first foot to come down off of a step. I’m going to keep popping the Vitamin I until it feels better.
The downhills are sometimes almost as bad as the uphills. And body pains switch all the time. Sometimes you want a slight uphill to give a respite for one bodypart and then you will want a downhill to give respite for the other. My biggest thing is to get better “Trail Lungs”. I am slowly not stopping as much on an uphill and not huffing and puffing as much, but it still hurts a bit. I’m hoping by the time the Smokies roll around it will be better.
Which the Smokies….the trail rumors are that the Smokies are still inpenetrable. Someone said there was 30″ of snow with more on the way….who knows. I’ll have to investigate soon.
Foodwise…we had a good amount from leaving Springer, but our box from Neels Gap was a bit much. The junk food is gone, the cookies and fruitroll ups and almonds have been great, but the real food has been more than we needed. Last night we made mac and cheese and then some potatoes and tuna. Mmmmm…! hah! Actually the mac wasn’t too bad. Anything is good if you are hungry. I’ve got to start eating more before bed because my stomach is what wakes me up in the morning and sometimes I’m a little barfy from being hungry.
What else….oh there is a lot I suppose. I can’t write worth a crap in my journal. I think in my head all day long and the last thing I want to think about when I sit down at night is to write more. I had a slight mental cry out yesterday. We’d just climbed Rocky Mtn right past Unicoi Gap and it hit me that I had six more months. Not that I didn’t know this but it was homesickness I guess. And I think the difference is that even when we lived in Florida we had internet and phone all the time and everyone was accessible. (btw we are doing Trailphone.net look for Ridley and Panther for our updates. We do this most every night if we have a signal).
I guess that is about it for ramblings. Oh…we are in Hiawassee…right…today was our first day for a hitch. We came into Dicks Creek Gap and there was Cob who had been ahead of us this morning and he’d been waiting awhile (while eating an apple…um, yeah, I wanted an apple!). A couple of cars came by and we decided we’d try to dig out the number for the shuttle we saw in the Deep Gap shelter book when we realized we didn’t have service, but then another car came out and we stuck our thumbs out and they stopped! It was a older man and woman from NC who were out driving for the day and they were very friendly and dropped us off at the Blueberry Patch Hostel. The BPH is pretty nice, very friendly and they even do your laundry for you! Hello…awesome! Our box was there when we got there. Got a nice shower and Gary even drove us into town to get Mexican food for lunch. That was good. We are going to wander around town for a few more hours, eat dinner and hitch a ride back to the hostel.
Tomorrow we’ll be heading for NC. We will get two nights (one day) at Fontana Dam when Chris’ mom and step-dad meet up with us so I can do more blogging then. Not sure if I will have a chance between now and then or not so I am going to schedule a few posts ahead of time so you will be entertained. 🙂
Oh, and there is such a thing as hiking sickness. It’s very similar to sea sickness. I keep feeling like I am walking up a hill while I am sitting here. Kinda unpleasant.
🙂 Love to you all.