AT 2022 – Day 5: 10.9 miles (57.5 total)

When you can accept what is…the hiking gets easier.

That’s today’s tip, folks. Acceptance.

But first, coffee.

I’m looking out on Jo-Mary Lake at Antlers Campsite at a cloudy yellow and blue sunrise. It’s quite spectacular. I’m camped on a point next to a bunch of Nobo thru-hikers who are giddy with excitement at getting this far. I’m giddy with excitement that my rash hasn’t gotten worse. 

My strange mix of bug bites and rash (caused by bug bites? Or bug spray? Or allergies? Or ???) Has caused me to try and transcend the itch: Don’t scratch, it will be 100% worse if you scratch. Think happy thoughts.

Ok, I gave those bites enough time this morning, time to move on.

2002 She-ra didn’t even have a tent, she slept in shelters and I don’t remember what was done about bugs. Ahhh, the bugs again, they are insistent little buggers. No more talk of bugs.

Right after hiking out this morning I ran into Bilbo. Oh man. He got up and started hiking the wrong way. Bummer, and easy to do out here in a fresh sleep cocoon.

We leap froged each other a bit during the morning (going south) and I stopped in the next shelter for a break. Rick was there again. Rick was the trail maintainer I saw yesterday at the shelter. Turns out he drives four hours from Augusta to volunteer on the AT! Has been doing it since the 1980s, and that puts some things into perspective for me…like those steep stairs from yesterday. The Maine Appalachian Trail Club has been working on buliding stairs in this area for over 30 years 😳. He said, “Imagine what it was like before the stairs. They are a big improvement.” I had been joking with myself earlier that not much has really changed on the AT in 20 years, except maybe they installed some more rocks. Guess I was right. Thanks again volunteers! I know I’ll be saying that a lot on this trip. Imagine the collective work that goes into maintaining a 2,175-mile trail? Arguably the most popular, used, developed trail in the country? With shelters and privys every 5-15 milesish??? Absolutely mind-blowing.

But the walking. The walking is infinitely easier than yesterday. There are even stretches that are rock and root free, and you can actually stride out and cruise. Dreamy.

My gravity filter is AMAZING

I swim for lunch and catch up with Bilbo again at the next shelter. Now he’s got me turned around and I start leading us on a trail back to the shelter that we just came from. Oops…

We hike together and take a break at a sandy beach before getting to the campsite.

We also started flip flopping with a group of girls hiking a section of the AT with their summer camp. Get this, they are hiking a 350ish mile section! For 7 weeks! Amazing. 

I chat with one of the leaders at camp (who gets paid to do this 😍 and is a thru-hiker herself) and it turns out her cousin is Adrian, who thru-hiked the Oregon Desert Trail in 2016, the same year I hiked it. The ODT was his first thru-hike, (daunting!) but he had some expert tutelage from his girlfriend Nikki out there. Both are accomplished runners, and I was thrilled to see Adrian won the Leadville 100 last year, one of ultra-running’s hardest races. His cousin (I didn’t catch her name, I’ll find out today) said after the ODT that he decided to stick with running. Ha! He tried one of the hardest hikes in the country first…although these miles on the AT have been anything but easy. In fact Bilbo is thinking about all the other things he could be doing instead of this. 

Camp! More swimming! Views! 

I meet trail angel Ron tomorrow with my first resupply, and I’ll walk in with one lunch to eat if I need to. I planned the food perfectly!

2 thoughts on “AT 2022 – Day 5: 10.9 miles (57.5 total)

  1. Hilary’s dad and I are loving these posts. So glad you signed me up, thanks.Hiking with you is great… you do the hard work and we enjoy it thru you. You write well too.

    Liked by 1 person

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