Miles from Springer Mountain: 327.4
Miles to Mount Katahdin: 1864.6
After a great, restful night in Hot Springs, NC, we enjoyed one last home cooked meal at Elmers and I felt refreshed and ready to start… for about 20 minutes. After I said goodbye to Paul and Brenda, bought some extra food, and said hi to some trail friends, a bad combination of hard uphills, homesickness, and a small case of the Michigan flu made Sunday a bit of a rough one. After talking to Haley at the top of Lover’s Leap (a beautiful peak), I jammed out to the … And Justice For All and Licensed to Ill albums to motivate me and change my mindset. Along the way I saw a beautiful pond and some gravestones – some folks love the trail so much that they are buried here.
I soldiered on 11.4 miles to Spring Mountain Shelter. There I met some familiar faces and a few new ones, I met Alaska and Mr. Perfect – a very interesting and inspiring duo. Mr. Perfect is deaf, Alaska learned ASL in prison; the two met out here and have partnered up to finish the trail together and help each other out.
The next day was great until about 1 PM, when it started raining! I wasn’t about to let it stop me and pushed a hard 22.6 mile day to Flint Mountain Shelter. Despite arriving 30 minutes prior to sunset and soaking wet it was a good nights sleep with new and familiar faces. Cayenne is this awesome 62 year old family doctor who carries packets of cayenne to spice up his food and the Swedes who are a fast duo from Sweden hiking the trail.
Today, I hiked 18.9 miles to Bald Mountain Shelter. I wasn’t able to enjoy many of the beautiful views due to the heavy fog early in the day, then cloud cover on top of the mountains. The day was saved by a wonderful bit of trail magic at Sams Gap! A man who started this year, but tore his meniscus still wanted to be a part of the trail. He stocked us our stomachs full with hot dogs and our packs with snacks. It was a long day on trail, but the feeling of progress is rewarding.
This weekend I am finally going to be able to see Haley, we are going to rest and relax around Roan Mountain. I’m motivated to keep pushing over the next couple days to see her, take a much needed zero, and maybe do some trail magic of our own!