Yup! My calf muscles are still sore, but feet are doing really well. I’m so thankful for my new shoes.
We slept in the tent on not so level ground last night and I felt like I was going to roll down the mountain and Jim was above me so if he rolled too I was going to get squashed! Also one of the tent poles on my side of the tent collapassed so it was hovering just above me. It reminded me of a cartoon character sleeping and while breathing in the tent would deflate and when they would breath out the tent would blow up like a balloon only this one stayed in the deflate state. This was our first time setting up this tent and it uses our trekking poles to support it. So we’ll just chock this up to another one of our comical hiking errors. Yes there is a long list of these! No picture of this one don’t want everone to see just had bad it was.
I had a number of first experiences this day. We were up early today to start hiking before it was light out because we needed to make it 14 miles to Fontana Dam by 3:30 for our shuttle pick up. We started out with a strenuous climb up what is called Jacobs Ladder and since I am faster on the up hills then Jim he let me lead and he never lets me lead. So this was my first leading as well as hiking in the dark with a head light on. We started hiking at 6:40 and the sun started to come up about 7:15 so we weren’t hiking in the dark for long. The sun rise was amazing! Beautiful pink sky over the mountains.
My next first experience is not so plesent. We were finishing up our last couple of miles hiking down in lower elevation where it was much warmer when all of a sudden I get this feeling like someone is pulling on the hairs in the crack of my ass. Yes I have hair in my crack. Now I have read about hikers getting chafing and some of my friends who have run long distances have experienced this, but it is a first for me.
Since we started hiking so early this morning I have this great picture from a mountain summit of all this fog in the valley below. Spectacular view.
I know most of you would think going up hill is the hardest part especially carrying a pack, but let me tell you how painfull down hill is. It really hurts the calf muscles and the knees. Especially when there are stairs that are so wide that you are always stepping down with the same foot rather than alternating feet.
We made it to Fantana Dam right at 3:30 our scheduled pick up time to be shuttled to the Hike Inn here we will sleep, shower, get laundry done and pick up a mail drop before entering the Smoky Mountains. The dam here is amazing and we get to walk across it!
After much discussion Jim was going to get off the trail and I was going to hike on alone because he fell and hit his knee on a rock and it was really painful and swollen. Then when we got back from a trip to town and got our laundry back from the Inn owner, Jeff he warned me about the up coming cold front and advised me that it would be in the 20’s and windy and I should maybe consider taking a couple of days off with Jim to let the cold front pass. So I make the choice to come off the trail. It really sucks. Mom is going to come in the morning to pick up Jim so I will go home with him.