earthtrekblog

Adventures of Life


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Magic on the trail abounds

To often I’m at loss for words when it comes to the trail.  The beauty which surrounds me is beyond belief.

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Spring Beauty

I am lost in the small parts of the trail, slowing down to take in a single water drop or to step over an insect.

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And then there is the ever expansive trail which opens before

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Rhododendron tunnel along Standing Indian Mountain

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Trail along Copper Ridge

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Much needed river day on the Nantahala River

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Fontana dam

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What lies ahead

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This journey has just begun and I’m so happy for it!

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Hiker life

In the hiker world there is a lingo you quickly learn.

“Hiker midnight”
Anytime after 8pm or the sun has set.
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“Hiker appetite”
The ability to consume huge amounts of food without effort.
The odd combination of foods which you’d not normally consider combining, peanut butter and tuna.

“Hiker fashion”
Either trail clothing which you wear for a week at a time or the random attire you put on for town days while washing your trail clothes.
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There is also a point where hikers discover a whole new type of challenge, not the day to day drone back in society

What do you do when the “facili-trees” are bare of leaves and you need to go to the bathroom?
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The moment when you become aware you have a clear view of the crew making dinner in the shelter when you’re seated on the privy.
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Your feet get more attention than your hair
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You discover you were photo bombed, not by your friends, but by bugs
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When the weather gets wet your dog gets the rain coat
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Lessons learned on the trail

The first week on the trail seems so surreal.  I have done so much and yet, already, each day is blending into the next.

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The names of mountains bounce around in my head, Big Cedar, Hawk, Blood Mountain, Springer, Powell, Kelly Knob. They’re are already too many for me to count.

I have gained my trail name, Bookie!

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The people are amazing; Ghost, Moonlight, Rhythm, Rikki Tikki, Ambush, Arrow, Possum, Twig, and so many more!

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There is something to be said for what you will eat on the trail.  I have developed a trail appetite and creativity gains you points. Most common breakfast is oatmeal with carnation instant breakfast mixed in, this one thing has so much potential for adaptation!

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Gluten free wrap with peanut butter and Hershey bar!

Blisters,  I know blisters,  at least that is what I thought.  But on day two, when between my toes was burning, I was perplexed.  I had heard nothing of blisters between toes.  I settled into my tent and looked at the situation, they seemed just little bubbles of annoyance,  things that should go away. Go away they did.   With needle and thread I punctured my blisters, leaving the thread in overnight allowing them to drain and settle.

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Blister threading

This worked for one of them, the other two were more of a chronic issue,  one where alternative options were needed.  Toe socks it was! 

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When you’re too cold to function take care of your own basic needs.  After a long day of hiking through rain and mist our arrival at the shelter was bleak as every other hiker on the trail in the surrounding 5 miles was there.  I struggled to get fine motor function going,  after trying to warm myself with hot food and good company I retreated to my tent to shiver through the beginning stages of hyperthermia where I dried off and regained the wonders of normal body functions.

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First week in photos

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Natural rain shelter

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Blue Mountain Shelter sunrise

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Trail magic


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Let the trail begin!

 

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Every step taken brings me further from society and into the wilderness.  I am here.  There is so much to be said and no way to say it.  The trail is nothing like I expected and everything I’d dreamed of.  Within the first mile I was a fish out of water, gasping to fill my oxygen deprived lungs with air. Slow and steady got me up the mountain and on with my journey.

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Bear bags hung in morning mist on Springer Mountain

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A good day of hiking leaves a tired puppy

I met amazing people within hours of getting on trail.  An older gentleman and I  got to talking while hiking down Springer Mt, it turns out he went through high school in Portsmouth, NH, with my uncles. I came all the way to GA to meet someone who grew up with my family.
I’ve seen remarkable people leave within days. The first two were a wonderful couple from CT,  personal health and the reality of the physical strain the trail puts on your body ended their journey on day two.  Another three left on day three, all for the same reasons.  Day five brought news that Ranger, a 74 year old had also decided to call it after pushing through some rugged terrain.

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Ranger hiking on a misty morning

Star has taken to the trail like it’s where she was born.  Every morning she waits by the trailhead while I pack my bag.  Her love for the mountains is clear,  she can’t wait to know what lies around the next corner or over the next peak.  She has also developed the “hiker appetite” and she will eat everything!  Loves her meal topper of Thrive from The Honest Kitchen.

I have found beauty in the mountains that surround me.

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Forest mist