It's hard to believe I've been on the trail for four weeks. I think it's mainly because I don't seem to have 28 days of memories of what I've done. I've been to five trail towns - Hiawassee, Franklin, Gatlinburg, Newport and now Hot Springs. But the other 20 or so days all sem to blend together. I have an indelible memory of a rocky or muddy trail full of tree roots leading up and down through mist and fog with some views now and again. It's like basic training in the army but this one never ends! :)
Julia and I speak often of expectations, namely about how having them jeopardizes the eventual outcome. Expect one thing and get something else, like wanting a Tim's double double and finding out it's only black and you've already left the drive-thru lane. You may end up having a bad day.
So I came to the trail without expectations, or so I thought. What I've found is I was expecting more of what I saw on all the videos I've seen on the A.T. , like flatter terrain. But it's been anything but flat. I thought I could walk myself into shape but I had to hit the trail ready to climb mountains.
I didn't expect to be spending so much of my time looking at where I step. It's constant. One wrong step and down you go. Maybe for the 10 count and then you're out.
I thought it would be spring in Georgia. I left the weekend of the Masters and they were wearing short sleeved shirts in Augusta, but it was freezing in the mountains.
I expected it to be wet but I expected a warm wet, walking in warm rain showers, but I got nothing but cold wet rain soaking through and leaving me shivering. It's been a crazy spring everywhere it seems but I'm feeling it more than I care to admit. This would be easier if the conditions were more favourable. I hope it warms up.
And I really didn't expect to be missing Julia so much. It ain't easy. It seems two things drive people off the trail - physical injury and tiredness or some sort of mental trauma from back home.
Bonjour is going home to MN tomorrow. MacGyver is still here and we'll be heading out in the morning. I spent the day buying new boots and resupplying. It's 5-6 days to the next trail town, Erwin TN. That's a lot of food to carry and I never seem to have the appetite to buy enough. It looks so unpalatable. But I tried to get enough breakfasts and dinners and snacks at the Dollar General and the Hillbilly Convenience Store.
One highlight today was a soak in a 100+ degree tub at the Hot Springs Resort. My share was $15 for an hour. They have 17 jacuzzis of various sizes out along the river bank and each has three walls for privacy and one open side facing the river. That was sort of cool as I've never been in a mineral hot spring before. Supposed to be therapeutic. We'll see if it helps the aches and pains.
I really want to thank everyone for all the comments on the Gronk blog with which Julia is doing such a great job. I'm humbled by your kind words of encouragement. Thank you so much! I wish I could respond individually to each of you but having reliable cell and wifi service is so inconsistent.
I'm not sure how far I'll get or how close to Maine. I'm hurting a bit and I seem to have issues with some of my equipment, namely the pack. Actually my body seems to be crooked and that's making the pack not fit right, putting pressure on my left hip. I may need a physio or someone to straighten me out eventually. A new pack is not the answer.
But I'll carry on a while longer hoping for warmer weather and more gradual climbs. (Ha!)
Cheers all and thanks for following.
Popular trail food, easy to carry, dense with calories.
Resupply completion reward.