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Begins: Mar 22, 2009
Date: Tue, May 19th, 2009
Trip Distance: 23.1
Entry Visits: 815
Journal Visits: 11,886
Guestbook Views: 2,016
Guestbook Entrys: 58
Well, good news and bad news...
Since hitting Damascus on 5/6 my daily mileage has stepped up quite a bit. After Hot Springs and before Damascus I had been doing about 12-14 mile days and now it's 17-20+ miles a day. This has made a significant difference to progress. Have even done a 23.8 mile day which wasn't too bad. Am currently in Pearisburg, VA and have been here since Sunday, staying two full days. I had only intended to stay one day but am so tired and worn out I just couldn't force myself back on the trail this morning.
Since Atkins (about 5 days ago) I've been hiking on my own and am finding this to be a little more relaxing than the previous 500 miles with Mike as I can choose when to zero and it's not such a big rush. I enjoyed hiking with someone but now it's better on my own. By the way, no more rumours on Spike, the scuttlebut says he must be off the trail, wheew. Hate to see someone else get hurt.
The weather over the last few days has been pretty nice without too much rain and the last 2-3 days have been real nice (while I'm not hiking!), sunny and cool. Last Sunday I hiked into Woods Hole Hostel just short of where I am now and the place was awesome, reminds me of what a lot of the trail is about that I have been missing. The hosts, Neville and Michael have a 1880's log cabin they live in and it's a beautiful place. Renovated inside to be modern but retains the old world charm. I had always said I wouldn't bother going to Trail Days back in Damascus but Neville and Michael were going to go, just for the day on Saturday (5/16) and coming back the same day, perfect. One other hiker (Bill) and I piled into the car and we got to Damascus about 11'ish and it was fun to meet some of the other hikers I have seen on the trail. I saw Trigger, Denver Dave, Cruiser, Floater and the 3 Stooges (Team Holland). Seems like I've been going faster than I thought because I'm in front of basically all of them except the 3 stooges. There was a big parade for all the past and present hikers...it was down the main street and basically a big water fight with baloons and squirters all over the place, I stayed "fairly" dry.
A lot of people have been asking me 2 common questions; 1. Am I still enjoying it, and, 2. What do I eat? Well, first the easy one...
What do I eat? Lets take a typical day.
Breakfast is 2 x Honey Buns (500-600 calories each)
Lunch includes anything between breakfast and dinner and is 3 x candy bars (Snickers, Milky Way and/or Babe Ruth's) 280 calories each. 1/2 packet of pepperoni slices (500 calories), 4-5 handfuls trail mix (300-400 calories), 5-6 mouthfuls roasted Sesame seeds (500 calories) and a couple of handfuls M&M's (300-400 calorories)
Dinner is usually a Liptons pasta/rice dish of between 700-900 calories and a couple handfuls trail mix (200 calories) and a 3-4 mouthfuls sesame seeds (250 calories) while waiting.
This is a lot to physically eat but I have been forcing myself since I "had" lost 12lbs or so, the bad news is even with this big increase in what I am eating on the trail, I have now lost 22lbs. At this rate I will be in big trouble within a month at most. I knew something was up the other day when I finally couldn't adjust the hipbelt on my pack anymore (no more hips). I am going to take more zero's and try and eat more in town but, even in town, I have increased my food consumption by about 50%, often to the point, just short of being physically sick. Not sure what more I can do. Very little fat left (maybe 5-10lbs?) and then my body will start consuming muscle.
Am I still enjoying the AT? Honest answer is 50/50, bordering on "not really". I'm very bored, to the point of wanting to quit. There is actually very little scenery on the trail, the same woods I see now are what I have been looking at day in and day out for the last 625 miles. I am not going to quit yet and will need to slow down, take more zero's otherwise if I'm not enjoying it, there's no point doing this and I'd rather be heading home to NZ.
Speaking of NZed. I have been given a trailname of "Zed" by Neville at Woods Hole after talking about New Zealand and how "Z" is pronounced "Zed". Yeah :-)
Tomorrow I will be leaving Pearisburg, VA and heading to Daleville. This will take me 4 days and a wakeup, 19.3 miles on Wed, 18.5 m on Thur, 22.5m on Fri, 17m on Sat and then 15.4 m into Daleville on Sunday. There is actually two things to look forward to during this part, the Audie Murphy Monument which I'll pass on Thursday and McAfee's Knob on Friday.
Am sitting in the motel lobby typing this and someone else is now waiting so I better stop waffling, upload some pics and let him on. Internet access has been very hard to come by so I'm not sure when/if I can update this again. Maybe with taking more Zero's it might be easier but I'm not sure.
P.S. I upload all my photos to http://picasaweb.google.com/rick.percival which you are welcome to look at. They are "all" the photo's unfiltered.
P.P.S. The rattlesnake really was 6-8 -nches away on the trail when I walked past him. He was non aggressive (just waiting for me to pass)until I poked him with my hiking pole (which is when I knew it was a rattlesnake). I would highly recommend NOT poking the deadliest snake on the trail and making him angry!!
Appalachian Trail - 2009
The Appalachian Trail (A.T.) is more than 2,175-mile long footpath stretching through 14 eastern states from Maine to Georgia. Conceived in 1921 and first completed in 1937, it traverses the wild, scenic, wooded, pastoral, and culturally significant lands of the Appalachian Mountains.
I regret not the things I've done, but those I did not do.
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