Sunday, May 27, 2012

Rested and Ready for the Next 1284 Miles

This week has been a lot easier than last, mostly because I have taken a few days off.  My dad and wife came to visit me in Waynesboro and it felt so good to be a regular person and not stinky hiker trash for a few days.  It also felt real good to wear cotton.  I weighed in for the first time since Johnson City and I have lost 53 pounds.  I am not hiking to lose weight, but it is a nice benefit.  I really started feeling the importance of a day off.  So many times we are on the run and constantly going that we forget the need to pause, not just physically, but mentally.  Call it a day off or Sabbath or what have you, but everyone should take one and stick to it.  It's amazing how rested and refreshed you will feel.  I hit mile 900 this week as well, which is a pretty big victory.  But keeping with what I just talked about, no matter how many miles I push, unless I give myself a chance to rest, I could do more damage than good.  I just need to find a balance between a zero and too many zero's to stay on schedule.

Day 73 (5/23) - Zero Day
Incredible day with Wendy and my dad. Ate at Chick-fil-a and Wendy's. We also went and watched the Avengers. Weighed myself and I have lost 53 pounds on the hike. I possibly put some of that back on today!

Day 74 (5/24) - Zero Day
Another great day! We took a drive into Shenandoah and saw some great views in the valley. We also saw two good size bucks and a turkey. I got some good rest and relaxation in and then tore up some Outback Steak House. Oh yeah, I also had Starbucks for the first time since very early March. It was awesome!

Day 75 (5/25) - Rockfish Gap to Calf Mountain Shelter (6.8 mi)
I took my sweet time this morning getting everything packed and ready. That allowed me more time with Wendy and my dad. I have my eyes on the prize now- finishing this beast. Even though I am not halfway yet, it won't take long to get there. Life on the trail is fun, but life with my wife and family is even better! After some Chinese buffet for lunch, it was time to part ways and hit the trail. This was a hard goodbye, since this stretch will be a long one. The time on the trail flew by quickly, mainly because we just hiked a little over 6 miles. I wasn't feeling it, mainly because I was just thinking of my time with Wendy. We made it to the shelter and I started planning out my next stretch, which includes Harpers Ferry (the psychological half way point) and the actual half way point.

Day 76 (5/26) - Calf Mountain Shelter to Campsite off Frazier Trail intersection (21.5 mi)
Sometimes I feel the trail has turned me into an animal. We are so blessed to be surprised from time to time with trail magic- the act of providing hikers with snacks, drinks, meals, rides, shelter, etc. It should not be an expected thing but sometimes you come to expect it. This happened to the bears in national parks. They were free in their habitat and then people started visiting and feeding them. This was unusual to the bears and then every time they saw a human they expected food and could get aggressive about it. Now it is illegal to feed the wildlife. Just like the bear, I sometimes get my hopes up when I get to a road crossing and see people. It was especially bad today being that I am in the middle of Shenandoah National Park and it is Memorial Day weekend and there are tons of people. All day long with all the Skyline Drive crossings I would hope for a cold drink or a snack and it never happened...until the very last road crossing. Trail magic!!! I had 3 cans of soda and a lot of nachos. It was awesome! It gave me more than enough juice to deal with the disappointment of not getting a campsite at the campground and having to walk an extra mile and a half. It was worth it in the end to have a beautiful sunset to watch right next to where we set up camp. Tonight we are stealth camping, which means we are camping in a spot that has not been designated for camping. This is allowed as long as you practice Leave No Trace guidelines and don't stay for more than one night. This is the first time I have had to do this so luckily we knew where to look and no one else was there.

Day 77 (5/27) - Campsite off Frazier Trail intersection to Elkton, VA (16.3 mi)
Funny I mentioned bears on yesterday's journal, because finally on day 77 (today) I saw my first three bears.  I first spotted momma about 20 yards to my left and then a cub came bouncing out from behind her.  Out of the corner of my eye, I see Dirty Girl take a picture to the right and sure enough another cub was there.  He began walking and I made him stop because if he would have been in between the mom and her cub, she would have probably come charging.  The little guy posed for a few pictures and went on down in the woods with his family.  It was awesome! I have waited and waited to see some bears on the trail.  Now all I need is to see a moose when I get into Maine.  Do you want to know what else is awesome? 900 MILES BABY! I have to say that I walk with a little more confidence knowing that I have walked that far.  The trail was relatively easy except for a long climb that would have been easier if it wasn't 90 degrees out.  There were a lot of people on the trail, and most of them were loaded down with perfume and cologne.  We made it to the Elkton entrance of the park where we waited on Dirty Girl's parents to pick us up. Tomorrow we are heading to REI and enjoying what will be my last zero day for a while (at least until I get out of Virginia). 

1 comment:

  1. Hey Brian have you and your wife thought about becoming missionaries? Do you have a family?