The work is finished, except for maybe a half-day job that may or may not come.
The details are in progress, pesky as puppies. Waiting on 1099s so I can do last year’s taxes and pay my estimated payments for this year. Waiting for the roofer to call and tell me when he’s coming to fix my leak. Waiting for the end of the month to cancel some things and handle some nitty-gritty, like figuring out my Smokies permit and doing my final grocery shopping.
So for now, hiking is my full-time job. Set the alarm for 5:00, get up, make meals, pack the pack, commute to the trail (an hour), then hike. Hike hike hike. Then drive home, shower, sleep. (I’m not doing full afternoons yet, so I can check WhiteBlaze and Trail Journals in the afternoon.) Lather, rinse, repeat.
I’m working into the rhythm. First, it lets my body get a taste of hiking on rocks and hills for multiple days without breaks. But really, I’m trying to minimize the Springer Mountain culture shock. I’m the kind of person who gets easily addicted to a schedule. With all the other changes and challenges of Springer to Neels, it seems smart to eliminate the ones I can.
No really big miles, no big weight. I’m just trying to do 10×12—ie, ten miles by noon. Haven’t managed it yet, although yesterday I did get my ten miles by 12:15, then hiked another mile or so. I’m increasing the distance slowly.
Weather, of course, is the limiting factor. Last night brought torrential rain and high winds, and there are winds again today. That trail can be treacherous at times. The ground is frozen with pooled water. Rain makes the ice wet (and the other day I had several near falls; thank the gods for inventing trekking poles). But the winds make branches fly like broomsticks, which is less predictable than watching one’s footing. Discretion being the better part of valor, I’m planning a cozy day working through gear.
My bum knee hurts a bit, but I think it’s OK. Nothing that feels like a new injury.
We’re good to go, one day at a time.