We stopped in Hiawassee to resupply. The last time we resupplied at Neels Gap, we didn’t pack out enough food. They say you always pack out more than you need but in our case, we had barely enough to spare. I think it’s wise to listen to the advice of others but also know your own body. This applies to all aspects of the trail, not just resupply. We are all different. Calorie consumption varies from person to person so does mileage. Do what is best for you. Anyway, got our first hitch hike from a nice lady who lived very close to the trail head. She also gave us her phone number in case we ran into any trouble. The kindness of the people we have met out here continues to amaze me. Our packs were loaded down and after close to 8 miles we decided to set up camp and get some rest. Tomorrow we cross our first state line and I can’t wait!
Good news and bad news. Bad news is we have been averaging 9.5 miles per day since we started at Springer. I would have liked to average 10 to 11 per day but the IT band issue set us back. I was a bit bummed when I realized we weren’t pushing the miles I knew we were capable of but I know I needed the time off in order to recuperate. Now for the good news. We are officially in North Carolina! One state down and 13 more to knock off the list. Plus we hiked a 15 mile day today! Maybe my body is starting to adapt to the beat down it endures on a daily basis. I do feel much stronger in body, soul and mind.
Never in my life could I have imagined walking, hiking mountain after mountain for 100 miles. But today we finally reached the first big milestone at the top of Albert Mountain. That was one heck of a climb but the reward was amazing. The views from the top of the water tower on Albert Mountain made my heart beat even faster than it already was. We are sleeping in a shelter tonight due to some storms headed this way. I am so afraid of the mice that I actually started crying! And that’s how I’ve received my trail name….Mouser.
So the stay in the shelter wasn’t all that bad. I didn’t see any mice (thank God), but let me tell you, the shelter floor is much harder than the ground. I think I got about 4 hours of sleep just because I could not get comfortable. We woke up really early and started on the trail before sunrise. We had a plan to meet Zen, the owner of Gooder Grove hostel at 9a that morning to get into Franklin, NC. The stay at Gooder Grove was amazing. We reserved a private room for $43 and they did our laundry for free. Zen is extremely hospitable. He will shuttle you around town to take care of any errands, plus the hostel is 2 to 3 blocks from Main St. I highly recommend Zen and Gooder Grove if you plan on a stop in Franklin.
Zen dropped off of this morning at the trail head after free breakfast at the First Baptist Church. We had lunch on top of Siler Bald. It was beautiful. From every angle we could see miles and miles mountains. We continued on and hiked a 12 mile day. We are trying to make it to the NOC in a couple days to pick up a new hip belt for my Osprey pack. I must be losing weight because my current hip belt has no more give.
At close to 70 degrees, today was one of the hottest days we’ve had on Trail. The sun shone all day. I can’t recall seeing one cloud in the sky. We climbed several of the balds and welcomed amazing views. But not everything can be perfect, right? I am nursing another injury. Early this morning, I sprained my right ankle. I’ve sprained it before several times so although it was painful at first, I was able to hike the rest of the day. I didn’t even realize the severity of the injury until we got to camp and my ankle was the size of a golf ball. I iced it in the stream, wrapped it and took some Advil. I’m really nervous this will turn into something serious and tomorrow morning I have a 5 mile hike, all downhill, to the NOC.
We originally planned to hike the 5 miles in to the NOC, resupply, charge our batteries and pickup my package from REI containing my small hip belt. Needless to say, that did not happen. We did make the 5 mile hike in, but never left. Instead we hung out in the gear shop, ate tons of food and soaked our feet in the river. My ankle really needed that. We then camped on a nearby island designated for thru hikers called rightly-named Hobo Island. I fell asleep listening to the crickets and the sound of the rushing river nearby. Some of the best days are the times where you don’t plan much. Now we need to make up the miles but that’s ok.