Friday, May 15, 2015

Day 44- Sometimes A Quarter Is A Big Deal

May 15, 2015 Stealth Campsite(539.6) to US 42(554.9) 15.3 miles 

I would rather have a quarter than a dime, a quarter pounder with cheese is better than a dollar menu cheeseburger, and being a quarter way through the trail is better than being a fifth of the way done. 
Big Milestone Today: Quarter of the Trail Complete

I had a much better day today. My energy level was great and I cruised through the early morning. We were up by 5:45 and out of camp by 6:45. The first part of today was very pleasant weather wise and the terrain was easy. 
I walked through several meadows with nice views and the birds were singing. I couldn't ask for a better start to the day. 
Meadow View
Big House that looked like a barn

After only three miles I got to the I-81 overpass. I met up with Airlock at a gas station and we decided to have breakfast at a place called the Barn. The food was only adequate, but filling. We were back on the trail by 9. Airlock left before me and I had trouble finding where the trail went. I ended up following a section of old trail for half a mile. Once I figured out my mistake I had to backtrack to where I went wrong. I lost 30 minutes that I didn't have. We were meeting Cherokee at 3:00 and it was going to be close on time. After I found the correct trail, I increased my pace to make up for lost time. Shortly after that the terrain switched from easy flat walking, to short, but steep climbs, followed by steep descents. My high energy level was quickly ebbing. I slowed my pace down to a reasonable level and the terrain became much more manageable. I also took my niece, Amber's, advice, I smiled while walking uphill and kept my head up. It really worked, so thanks for that Amber! 
Easy Flat Terrain
Short Steep Uphill

With only 5 miles left to the day, I finally caught up to Airlock. We hiked the rest of the day together. We had one long uphill that looked really steep on our guide, but ended up being pretty easy. The trail designers put in a lot of switchbacks and it was an enjoyable uphill. The decent was not enjoyable. My feet and knees were aching. Everyday, no matter what my daily mileage is, the last 2 miles are the worst. On the bright side, there was a lot of pretty flowers to look at. 
Rhododendrons are finally blooming
Buttercups and Liliacs(?)

With only .5 miles to go, we came across some trail magic. 
Coolers with Mountain Lighnting(Walmart brand Mt. Dew)

We climbed over more fence stiles today than I have climbed over the entire trail. This kind is especially tricky to maneuver over. 

We met Cherokee at the designated road  at exactly 3:00. Airlock and I had joked earlier in the day that he would be early and chatting with hikers when we arrived. We were correct. He was early and giving hikers suggestions on how to get to Damascus for trail days. 

Mrs. Cherokee fed us cheeseburgers and margaritas, with banana pudding for dessert. Excellent!!!!
Airlock and I soaked our tired feet, did laundry, and showered. 
Epsom Salt Bath

Tomorrow we will have breakfast here then return to the trail in the late morning. The terrain looks pretty rough, so we decided to take it easy and only hike 12 miles. We have been pushing it hard all week. It will be nice to have an easier day. We have 5 days to cover 80 miles on the next section to Pearisburg, VA. After tomorrow it looks like a pretty manageable section terrainwise. 

“Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.” – Mahatma Gandhi, leader of the Indian independence movement


  1. Congrats on your accomplishments! Quarters are my favorite! So motivated by your journey, you're inspiring me! Keep up the awesome work!

  2. Happy quarter of the way there!! Makes my entire day when I get to talk to you! Thanks for the call!
    So I don't think those are lilacs. They might be Smooth Phyox according to the Virginia Wildflower Database. Yes, it is a real thing! You are a rockstar!!!

    1. Why am I not surprised that you found a wildflower database. I used it today to cross reference the pink azalea before I posted. Miss you. I'll try to call next time I'm in town

  3. Awesome to hear on the 1/4 way mark to Katahdin. I saw a specialty chocolate bar at Publix the other day that reminded me of you. It is called Dagoba. Pretty cool I thought. Keep going!! I love reading your journal and I love the titles of your entries.

    1. Just another reason why publix is the best. I'll have to look for some of that when I get home

  4. Yea! Glad you're a quarter of the way. I like Amber's attitude. Smile as much as possible and soak those feet as often as you can. Truck on.

    1. Thanks, Kris. Surprisingly smiling on the uphills helps.

  5. You're welcome! Crazy advice and you look like an insane person to strangers doing it but it definitely works! :) Congratulations on the quarter mark and keep truckin' along!

    1. When did you get do smart? Congrats on your second year in the army. Seems like just yesterday you graduated from Slippery Rock. I hope all is well in Kansas.