Monday - April 4th - 11th day on the trail
(I can see I better be careful with what I share off-line with my daughter) - Hey, I'm just keeping it real, Dad :).
Hiked this morning from Deep Gap Shelter to the road into Hiawassee. Only 3.5 miles, so today is considered a NERO (near zero). Will have a zero day tomorrow to get a few housekeeping things done. Tonight is very stormy so it's good to be here, especially after the 6 straight days of rain early on. update 4.5.11 - Dad couldn't stay off the trail, he decided to keep going today.
The vistas the last couple of days have been outstanding. I have been taking the time to take the sights in along the way. Mostly as I try to catch my breath on the up hill climbs. I understand Georgia is one of the tough states, so I'm looking forward to getting to North Carolina in a couple of days.
I'm learning something new about hiking the trail every day. Everyone is more than eager to share their knowledge and wild trail stories. Drew Murphy told me not to take the harrowing tails to heart so I won't. I'm sure I'll have a few tall tales before this is over to pass on to the next group.
Today I finally received my trail name..."Trolley Stop"...Trolley for short. I had been calling myself Mr. Rogers, but the younger set didn't like that very much and had a trail name brain storming session at camp and came up with Trolley Stop this morning. The gal who came up with the name was "Baby Ruth". Evidently on the old Mr. Rogers show he had a Trolley that ran around and did something profound when he came to his Trolley Stop. Anyway, that's the story and I'm sticking to it.
I've already gotten messages in the shelter log books from those I've met who have passed me. Beginning to feel like part of the trail family.
Tonight the big event is being able to watch the final basketball game. Tomorrow I'll get what little hair I have cut off. (note - he skipped the haircut) Grooming on the trail is a futile effort. I saw myself in a mirror today for the first time in a week and it was pretty scarey!
Other than some pack issues, all is good. No real aches or pains and no blisters. The Trail shoes Scott recommended are, so far, perfect. They do look like I've been walking in them for months though because of the mud. When it rains the trail basically becomes a stream. Hats off to the trail maintainers. The trail is well marked and cleared of most fallen trees. So far the water sources have been plentiful and the spring water clear, cool and delicious. Early last week I filled up with tap water at Mountain Crossings and couldn't wait to get to the next stream and pump new water.
It's early on, and packing up in the morning is still a challenge, especially when it's raining. Slinging my pack on and off to change during the day is another art to master.
As mentioned, hiking poles are wonderful to use. So far I haven't fallen, but have recovered from a number of wild dance steps thanks to the poles.
Each day I've had the pleasure to hike long sections with different people, all who have been a delight to meet. There are several Europeans on the trail. Tonight I met "51-61" from Luxembourg who's plan is to fly over each year for 10 years and do his thru hike in sections finishing when he's 61. Of course if I did that I be 77 so I'd best keep walking.
Also heard a description of the difference between a day hiker, section hiker and a thru hiker. If a day hiker is eating M&Ms on the trail and drops some he'll leave them there. If a section hiker passes and sees them he'll pick them up and dispose of them when he gets home. A thru hiker will pick them up and eat them.
Well, the first full week is behind me and while I wouldn't say "that was easier than I expected" I do feel very good about the trip so far.
Thanks so much for all the messages and encouragement from family, friends and former co-workers at CBRE and LENOVO. I had a chance today to get on a computer and connect with family. Definitely a highlight of the day.
Peace, Love, joy and Hope,
Trolley Stop (Roger)