Monday, April 9, 2012

Walk It Off

So my last post ended on a bit of a down note. Not this time boys and girls! The Flash is feeling pretty good and spirits are high! I finally have my hiker legs under me and even with a bum ankle am able to put out some miles.

Here is a crazy thought- I have almost been on the trail for a month now. It is hard to believe. That would explain why the thought of quitting frustrated me so bad when I hurt my ankle. I am a full blown stinky smelly mountain man now :)

Day 26 (4/5) - zero day
Take some time and call your mom and grandma and tell them you love them. Mine went way out of their way to get me and let me heal up at their house and watch the Reds game. They are super awesome!

Day 27 (4/6) - Standing Bear Hostel to Groundhog Creek Shelter (7 mi)
Started back on the trail from where I left off. Should have given myself more time. With my ankle I was roughly moving 1 mile per hour. Top of Snowbird Mountain was amazing. This bald had 360 degree views of the mountains plus had a cool FAA tower on top. I watched part of the sunset until I realized I still had 2 miles to go. Needless to say I ended up hiking about 2 miles in the dark. It was pretty frustrating and emotionally I think I hit my lowest point on the trail between being hurt, walking in the dark, and being so far away from the shelter. I should have just taken the day off and started the next. I checked to see if i had cell signal and i had a few bars so i called Wendy just to get some encouragement. I finally rolled into the shelter around 9:30 and just grabbed my sleeping bag real quick and went to bed. Beautiful full moon all night.

Day 28 (4/7) - Groundhog Creek Shelter to Roaring Fork Shelter (8.2 mi)
It's a new day and thank goodness. Woke up very cold- it was probably the coldest night I have experienced on the trail. Ankle was feeling a little better and the swelling was down. The trail wasn't too bad and I was starting to wonder if I could do a few more miles. I got down to a gap and trail angel Apple was giving out cokes and cookies. I hung out there for a few minutes. The next 3 miles went by pretty quickly and then there it was- Max Patch. I have been pretty excited about getting there. It is a huge grassy bald with amazing views of mountains all around. When I got to the top there were people picnicking and flying kites and just hanging out. There was not a cloud in the sky. I got more trail magic on top- fresh fruit and cold beer. I was also able to share with a couple about thru-hiking and about my charity and got them excited about hiking. A quick mile down to the shelter and I met Mouse and Sit-a-Bit. They were staying there so instead of pressing on 5 miles which would mean I would probably be hiking in the dark again, I decided to stay. I will try for 13 miles tomorrow so I can get into Hot Springs early Monday.

Day 29 (4/8) - Roaring Fork Shelter to Hot Springs, NC (18 mi)
Do you see that boys and girls? The Flash hiked 18 miles and with a bum ankle. It must be an Easter miracle because I haven't hit over 13 miles yet in a day. I left the shelter feeling pretty good and found a good pace. Before I knew it I had hiked 5 miles in just 2 hours. Something didn't add up at least I thought till I saw a sign and sure enough I was earning my trail name in a non embarrassing way. I kept on trucking with 2 mountains to climb, having lunch on the second. After that it was all downhill until about 6 miles to Hot Springs. Now I did something today I have never done. I didn't load up on water at all, even though I had a dozen chances with all the creek crossings and springs. This lightened my pack enough to get the pace I was hiking. I did finally give myself about a liter and a half at a spring with about 8 miles left. I chugged the first liter and pressed on. I finally got to a gap with a little over 6 miles left. Add another up mountain (which felt like it lasted forever) and then last chance for shelter. Now the game plan was to stay at this shelter and hike 3 miles into Hot Springs tomorrow but I was so close and had plenty of day light left. I should have stopped and eaten a snack and refilled my water but I was too antsy. I have to say that last mile lasted forever. Sure it was all downhill but I ran out of water and was starting to feel lightheaded and weak, signs of dehydration. I stopped for just a minute to catch my breath and moved on until I finally reached the trail parking lot with the hostel a few yards away. I checked in, grabbed some water, and went to the tavern and got myself a big greasy cheeseburger and a coke. What a great reward for a hard days hike. I am also rewarding myself with a zero day tomorrow to give my ankle and feet a rest. It was also great to see Nokey, Gypsie Soul, and Bear Foot are here. Finally some people I know. Grabbed a much needed shower and popped some vitamin I and now i am heading to bed, though I don't think I will get any sleep because Skillet is snoring super loud right now. I have a big day of laundry, resupply, and maybe taking a soak in a hot spring tomorrow.

Day 30 (4/9) - Zero Day
I am letting my feet and ankle rest today. Doing laundry, showering, and have reservations at the spa to sit in the hot spring for a bit. The Flash deserves to be pampered a little bit!


  1. You are doing awesome Brian. I like your post! Just put the dates please along with the day #...

  2. A comment from a complete stranger! I'm enjoying reading about your hike. Sounds like you're making great progress in spite of weather and injury. I hope I can follow your blog all the way to Katahdin.

  3. I am so enjoying keeping up with your progress and loving your stories! to say I'm so proud of you doesn't come are amazing, and I am soooo impressed with you!!! Prayers for your continued success and health...Love from your old aunt Cindy.