June 3 - 500 miles
It was still raining when I woke up. I packed in the rain and headed down the mountain. The trail is a mess when it's wet. Especially the down hill parts. You have to watch you don't end up on your ass.
Then came the climb of the day - 2200 feet of elevation gain over 4.4 miles. Shouldn't been that hard but it was. My heart kept racing and I spent a lot of time waiting for it to slow down so I could continue.
I really wonder if I'm handicapped now. I've had the myocardial bridge thing since birth, yet I used to run 10 miles in 52 - 55 minutes in college. Yet now my heart rate goes through the theoretical roof for someone my age on these climbs. (The numbers say I should be stroking out). The cardiologist said I had 30-40% blockage of the arteries. Is this the problem?
I believe the research and documentation that is coming out now, about how primal and paleo diets are healthier than what your average person eats. But I don't like this handicap I have. If it's the arterial blockage causing the high heart rate, then I'm going to give the Ornish diet a go. Or Flemming's as outlined in his book, Inflammation. Both claim to have had success in reversing arterial plaque. On the other hand, maybe it's just in my genes and that's the way it is.
One thing the trail has shown me is, sometimes that's just the way it is. You get so basic out here. Necessities are few but you can't do without them. Staying dry and warm, having food and happy feet are about all that's required. Anything else is a luxury or at least, a bonus. Like coffee.
At noon, I was at Chestnut Knob shelter. There was a lot of meadow walking through wet grass to get to the knob. When I saw it, a blockhouse structure with a real door, perched on the very top of the mountain with fog all around, I wanted to start yodelling. I threw open the door and a half dozen hikers looked up and I said, 'Where's Heidi at?' They all chuckled. Everyone had had the same idea.
The Heidi shelter.
I dropped my pack for about 10 minutes and sat down for a while but there really wasn't room for all of us, so I headed out.
The trail headed down steeply for quite a stretch before heading back up to a ridge which went on for some distance. The ridge was a series of continuous ups and downs for several miles. Officially know as Garden Mountain, it's unofficially known as God's Thumbprint.