Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Forest Fires and Burning Muscles, A.T. Thruhike 2012

     After taking my time at the N.O.C. to enjoy a cup of coffee and another shower, I said my goodbyes to fellow thruhikers who shall remain there to nurse injuries, and began up the trail.
     With a late start and tough miles ahead, I figured I wouldn't go too far today. It wouldn't be an issue anyways, since my maildrop to Fontana Dam will likely be a little late.
     Tough miles it was, almost completely uphill. Going from an elevation of 1700 to over 5000 was no joke. I breathed heavy, and I hurt, and I loved it.
     Yes, I am beginning to really enjoy the burn. Give me rough days and tough miles, and I take it on as a challenge. How long can I push uphill before I need to take a break? How much can I take before it becomes too much?
     The best part is, the further north I go, the better I become. I can already see and feel the difference. I am able to go faster and farther, pushing myself up those hills easier and easier. It feels great!
     I climbed the long, hard Cheoah Bald Mountain today, and met some government forest workers at the top. As I made conversation, a roaring controlled forest fire was billowing smoke just a few miles away! Helicopters were dropping flaming hay bales into the selected area of forest, and these men were assigned to this mountaintop to ensure control was kept. It was an interesting experience to say the least!
     I made it to a shelter over 15 miles from N.O.C. and I won't lie, the last hill brought me to exhaustion. I pushed myself all day, almost making a game out of it. Of course, the shelter was full, and I saw no good tent sites.
     So onward I went, just another mile or two to a gap where I found a perfect little tent site near a little spring. It was perfect.
     I relaxed for a bit, ate my dinner and did my chores, and watched as the western sky turned orange, then pink, and faded to black.
     One nice benefit to those long, hard climbs is that I will sleep very well tonight. I will write in my journal, then slip into a deep, dream-filled sleep. I love it here.


  1. OMG, it literally sounds like Nirvana...except for the muscle aches and exhaustion! LOL Take your time, my friend. Breathe Mother Nature who surrounds you...restore your soul!!!

  2. You look good in this pic... Keep up the good journey and experience life in a way that most can't.

  3. It sounds like you are having a wonderful time. It's fantastic that you are finding joy in the simple things. I hope it continues to be as great as it is right now.


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