May 29 - Trying to walk mindfully
It ain't easy. That's all I can say. Somehow I thought walking in the woods would be meditative. And is when it's flat, lol. Still I tried. When I found my mind wandered I'd bring it back to the trail. But then it was off again.
I discovered too that I like hiking with others. I hiked alone and camped alone this whole five day stretch and while it was a nice change of pace, I missed sharing it (especially the hard bits) with someone who could commiserate. And I found that hanging in my hammock with nothing to do but be in the moment was more conducive to meditating in nature than hiking with a pack strapped on you. Hmm.
I woke up at 6 a.m. and after letting my brain work itself up to speed, got up. Actually getting out of the hammock is the most difficult thing about hammock hanging. It's just way too comfortable. I can hang (and have hung) for 12 hours without issue. I can't do that in a tent as every part that touches the mattress is hurting after only 8 hours. And in a tent, my head never rests in the proper position for some reason.
The one thing I noticed when I got up was how damp my down quilts were. It was very humid with the rain and everything was damp, clothes, too. And I was dirty inside my clothes. The humidity and warmer temps have made me stickier more quickly than in previous weeks. Not good when you actually offend yourself.
I only had nine miles to go so I wasn't in a hurry but six weeks of learning how to pack things up efficiently put me on the trail in record time.
I think I've changed my mind about PUDs again. They're for the freaking birds! The hike today was 50-50 good and bad. The good parts were nice forests with pine needle-covered trails and easy walking, even uphill with a grade that made me sweat. The bad were rocky outcroppings the trail maintainers thought would be fun to have hapless hikers hump over. They did me no favours.
The strange occurrence of the day was when I crossed a road and there was a guy 50 meters up the trail on the other side, just standing there. He didn't have a pack. He said hello as I passed waited a minute and then began following me playing a recorder! He played well but he kept coming for hundreds of meters and since it was out of a ga,p it was all uphill. It wasn't banjo music but it was a bit strange. He finally stopped turned and headed back down. I sort of wished I'd asked him about it. Walking, playing meditation perhaps?
Finally arrived at Partnership Shelter, the Ritz of trail shelters. A log house with matching privy - a privy that not only has complete floor to ceiling walls mind you, but, get this ... a door!
It also has a shower. And that's why no one wants to leave. There were people all over the place and it was a party atmosphere. I saw some people I had not seen since Georgia. They're skipping around and not thru-hiking.
I walked on past to the Mt Rogers HQ building where I recharged my dead phone at an outlet behind a stuffed bear. Later on a father-daughter team showed up outside where I was sitting and he complained about the hangers on at the shelter. They were planning on staying the night but not with a bunch of stoners there and he was upset the rangers didn't enforce the one night rule.
There was a local transit shuttle that was to make a run to the town of Marion six miles away but it was three hours later. I put on my town shirt and began asking visitors for a ride to town. The third guy said yes.
Dehydrated peanut butter!?
Turns out he owns a new business in town that sells food and beverages and all sorts of stuff, a lot of it art related, including pre-poured ceramics that you buy and then hand paint yourself. He then fires them for you. I mentioned my parents made pottery for a living and he showed me a warehouse full of moulds he acquired but had not put to use thus far. There were close to 1000 of them. All I saw was enough "stuff" to drive you insane. I hope he knows what he's getting into. Ceramics is labour intensive. :/
Jim and some of his ceramic moulds.
I don't know what to do about the foot issues I'm having. I've read what Pat's document said and I've tried May's suggestion about a lube. And I've been reading my Kindle book, Fixing Your Feet.
New blisters appear beside the old ones and old ones become new ones. It's only a problem after some hours and seems to be related to sweating and higher temps. I can feel my feet are hot. But I can't stop, peel off socks and tape, wipe with alcohol (so the new tape sticks), retape and don fresh socks - every two hours. Can I?
So maybe I need to take several days off and just heal? But then what? I must admit I'm a bit gun shy now. And to make it worse now I've developed shin and ankle pains on my right leg which I think are from changing my gait because of blisters on the right heel.
Don't mean to belabour the blister thing but it's the centre of my attention now. Not sure what comes next.