HOLY ELK! 

Sunday November 27, 2016

Today was amazing minus the 19 degree temperature when we woke up this morning.  Burrr

On our way into the Smokies to the Chasteen Creek Cascade Trailhead we had to pause for an elk crossing. 

It warmed up quickly and we were able to eat lunch by this beautiful cascade. 

Unfortunately today was our last day of adventure, but it was an awesome trip. 

Post Hike

Its been ten weeks since I finished hiking the Long Trail and I’ve had a hard time deciding to write this follow up. Mostly because of how bad I felt after the hike. I had fatigue that lasted weeks. I was taking a nap every chance I could, which was about 4 times a week. My feet and knees were sore. I refrained from doing any sort of exercise for a couple of weeks, which is way out of the norm for me. I even exercise while on vacation! It is just part of my daily routine. When I started to exercise again it was just walking a mile or two. I felt like I had aged decades! I was depressed. I was wondering how I would ever be able to thru hike something as long as the AT. So after lots of thinking I have decided to just play my thru hike by ear and see how things go. I plan to do a flip flop starting in Harper’s Ferry West Virginia and hike north to Katahdon and hope like hell that I make it there with a smile still on my face. Then I will reassess. If I am able to make forward progress without too much pain and fatigue I will continue.

Hiking Long Trail really humbled me. I realized how I really need to pay attention to my body and rest when I am tired. Sleeping on the ground is really hard on the hips and I don’t sleep well. I am consistently doing what I call the “sleep pad roll”. Rolling from one side to my back then to the other side then repeat through out the night. But there is just something about trail life that I love. The trail was amazingly beautiful and some of the climbs were actually fun. While some were pushing my fear of heights panic button. There was never a day that I thought about quitting, but there were a few that I would have definitely loved to have stopped early.

I was very happy with the gear that I had and only changed a few small things. I had a hiking skirt with built in underwear that I decided to cut the underwear out of and wear some that I could change out and wash regularly. This way I could remove the underwear wash it put clean underwear on and not expose any of my girlie parts. And it just so nice to wear clean undies.

I also add a couple of things…gaiters for my feet. I was sick and tired if getting debris in my shoes and having to clean it out regularly. And I add a small cloth carry bag/backpack that I could put my water bottles, water filter and wash bandana in to carry everything down to the springs where I would get water. This way I could get enough water for the night and next morning and only make one trip to get water. Sometimes the water was a ways away and difficult to get to.

The only thing that I completely eliminated was my keyboard for blogging. I was trying to eliminate any excess weight that wasn’t necessary, when the climbs started to get really difficult and exhaustion was setting in. There were sections that I also did away with my umbrella and rain pants when the weather looked good, but that was only because we stayed some nights back at my Aunt and Uncles since they didn’t live to far from the trail. You can view my gear list at https://lighterpack.com/r/79r1ih.

Would I do it again? You betcha!