I passed 200 miles today!
I woke up early in the cozy bunk. Each of the bunks at the Roadhouse has privacy curtains, a lamp, fan, and outlet to charge devices. It’s wonderful!
I packed up before the Jenns (both owners are named Jenn) had out the breakfast spread: blueberry pancakes, cheezy potato casserole, scrambled eggs, bacon, and watermelon. Amazing.
I settled up my bill and got the requisite polaroid photo taken for the hiker wall (so many hikers have already come through this year!) and loaded up on the short bus for the ride back to the trail.
There were six of us headed south today, and we all started in a group up the first climb. I lingered in back, the cheezy potatoes were so rich that I needed to give my stomach a chance to settle.
We were a train of hikers moving through the woods.
At the first good water source we snacked and I ended up hiking out first, enjoying the solo hiking opportunity after having been around so many people. I sped ahead, my legs having thrived with the zero day rest. My back pain was all but gone too! Sterling, another mid-40s hiker and I had been talking about back pain. He’s been struggling with it too, and his doctor thinks it might be arthritis….I haven’t gone to the doctor, but as long as it calms down with rest and ibprophen I’ll chalk mine up to overuse.
By the way, not sure if you know this about me, but I don’t weigh my pack. I usually have no idea who much I am carrying. Sure, I have lightweight stuff, but I also carry luxuries like chacos, a coffee press, and pagna (see this blog post for more on my unconventional gear). At one of the previous town stops I decided to see how much I was actually carrying, and clocked in at 30lbs with three days of food and a liter of water. Not bad! Now, that doesn’t count the fanny pack…but that’s worn weight. On the front of my body. That only matters to my knees. 😁
Back to the hike. I take a break on a jumbled rock pile, eating some cold pizza (my favorite food to pack out after town). I had a good view over to Sugarloaf Mountain and all the ski runs. Sure, I’d come back and ski it.
After that the going got steep, probably because Gormet and I had been talking about how easy and gentle the terrain had been so far. 😵
I slowly picked my way down to a river where a few of us lunched (we were bunched up again….which can be fun too). Matt offered everyone goldfish…he’s trying on Goldfish as a trail name, but it doesn’t quite fit.
After a quick river crossing we run into another trail crew. They are playing in the mud….setting rocks so we wouldn’t have to. I whispered “Thank you” to one crew member as I walked on by.
Up. Time to go up, and the up was bouldery. This was another of those full-contact climbs, but I think the climbs up are better than the climbs down…
I passed a 0.5 side trail to the summit of Sugarloaf, but opted to skip the extra mile of hiking. Thunder was beginning to rumble, and my goal was the next shelter before the rain fell.
Another rocky descent brought me to the Spaulding Mountain lean-to. I arrived first and claimed a spot. Before long several northbounders and my sobo peeps arrived and we were stuffed in there like sardines. Hmmm, I don’t know about this…
By nightfall all were quiet, but eight people in the shelter will make some noise. The crinkle of air mattresses and inflatable pillows was a symphony of awake. I couldn’t get comfortable smashed up against one of the walls, so finally in the depths of the night eased myself out of the melee and clumsily set up my tent. The rain had passed, along with some loud thunder. I made my own symphony of annoying in setting up the tent. When I finally went horizontal there was sleep.
The bus picture reminded me of the trip into Stehekin (with the bakery stop). I marinated my back pain last summer with vitamin I for two days and it worked. Keep on trucking
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In the van photo, the woman could pass for your sister.
Your fine writing is giving me a sense of experiencing the AT. Otherwise, I had no clue. And this is an experience that I happily enjoy vicariouisly.
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Haha, I dont wish these climbs on anyone! The AT is not for the faint of heart 🥵