Day 40: Randomalia

Random thoughts, and snapshots of Hot Springs.

Day 40. I’d hoped to be in Damascus by now. I’m still OK, though, by all experienced accounts. I did do some math. For a mid-September finish with one zero per week, I’ll have to average something like 14.8 miles per day (including the zeroes). That’s a tough mpd average for me and will almost have to include some 20s.

Snowman, who’s hiked the trail before, said that after 300 or 400 miles the nerves in the bottoms of your feet just shut down. They get sick of being pounded and stop sending hamburger signals. I love that!

I’m going to try to hike by the clock rather than by the miles. Hike 7 to 12, take a 1-hour lunch break and potentially a nap, then hike 1 to 6. It’s not dark until 8:30 or afterward; plenty of time to set up and eat and journal. If my feet hurt at 3:00, I can stop for an hour, hike a mile, stop for an hour, hike for a mile, and still make camp at 6:00. Two extra miles per day adds up to 300 miles over the duration of the rest of the hike.

People wave to hikers here! πŸ™‚

I’m going to stop using my footprint in the rain. It’s just one more heavy piece of sodden garbage to carry. And I’m going to nap on it during my breaks.

I don’t have my rain system fully worked out. Before now, it was always, you know… snow. But the rain starts now in earnest. Rain tomorrow, rain Thursday, rain Friday.

I’m going stoveless to Erwin to see how I like it. That would save me a pound in the summer. Every ounce is huge. Even if I keep the stove, I think I can send another half pound of miscellanea home. And in the summer, I’ll probably send home the rain pants!

Trying another new packing system. Adapt, adapt, adapt.

More as I think of it. Or not. Oh, and my digestive system is fine today. Just too much greasy fatty caffeinated food!

And for your viewing pleasure, a photo tour of Hot Springs. And a picture of Outside Dog eating a bagel. πŸ™‚

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Categories: Appalachian Trail | Tags: | 7 Comments

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7 thoughts on “Day 40: Randomalia

  1. From the outside looking into your hike, you seem to be doing damn good. I like how thoughtful you are about your hike and how to get the most out of each day. I like the way you listen to the signals from your body and adjust and adapt to maximize your miles and experience. I like how even if you are thinking it, you do not write first about quitting, rather you go on to figure out how to make it work.

    And it appears to be working for you, you are getting more lean and trail fit. Thanks for sharing all that you are learning and someday some of reading this are going to benefit on the trail because of your sharing.

    • Thank you, Red. You’re always so encouraging! πŸ™‚

      One step at a time! Can’ wait to get back to walkin’ in the AM!

  2. Marge

    Ok, what’s a “footprint” in hiker lingo? You seem to be great at adapting, Karma. Seems like you’re using good common sense and learned knowledge from the journey itself….It’s like your TM Partner is putting you in the right place at the right time for your next adventure! And you, the TM vessel, shares that with all of us. Keep up the great work. Very happy to hear you are feeling better physically, too. Love you

    • Love you, too! πŸ™‚

      The footprint is a tent accessory. It’s a lightweight sheet of nylon that’s cut to the tent’s exaxt size and goes underneath it to give it a little protectoon and keep it a little drier. A lot of people don’t use them. Five ounces! Or 75 pounds if it’s wet. πŸ˜‰

  3. Blackbird

    You’re doing just great and all of your gear and attitude adjustments are right on target for this point in the hike. You’re looking at the friction points and solving problems and that’s great. Next, the friction points will be in your own head and the same process will apply. The 14 and change mile average is a high aspiration, but that’s good too. The Universal Hiker Average Mileage for the AT seems to be about 12-ish, like an immutable law of hiker physics or something, so just keep it about there and you’ll be just fine. One of my tricks is to just walk all day and see what the miles do while taking care of all the other needs, the eating, the sleeping. The mileage monkey is too heavy to allow to ride on your back too! Rock the hike. Be mindful of the next section over to Erwin; it’s a challenging stretch. After Erwin, the Trail will start to give back to you every day, more than you can imagine.

    Blackbird

    • Thanks, Blackbird. I’m looking at the elevation profile from here to Erwin and cringing. πŸ˜‰

      But hey, every mile walked is a mile finished!

      The 14 mpd was just what I need to get to an overall 12 mpd. But that, too, is going to have to sort itself out. I love what you said about the mileage monkey!

  4. Donna

    U R doing awesome!…and the wisdom of your fellow hikers is amazing. Glad your feeling better.

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