April 6, 2000

Cherry Gap shelter, TN 16 Miles Hiked Today 355 of 2167 Miles Hiked Total

The MOB Squad (left to right: Mushroom, Bombadil, and Orion)Today was nearly perfect after a terrible night's sleep. Got up showered, ate, packed, discussed plans with everyone, and took pictures. Then I was off. Not a cloud in the sky, 70 degrees in the shade and 80 degrees in the sun. For a good part of the morning I followed the Nolichucky River from the river itself up through its branch-offs, to two of its spring sources. That was neat. A couple of good up hills, a couple of good down hills got the "town legs" going again. The trail went through a red spruce forest and across several grassy fields which provided good views. In one, I sat against a tree and just smelled the grass and watched over the mountains for 20 or 30 minutes. With the days longer, I can take more breaks and still get to camp at a decent time (that is with sun remaining). Another factor that made the day nearly perfect was the fact that I saw only one set of hikers the whole day and the shelter I am staying at, but not sleeping in, has only four other hikers, all of whom I know - Scout and her dog Peaches and the mob squad (Mushroom, Orion, and Bombadil - the character from The Hobbit).

One note on food: I need to not eat absolutely everything I can all day on town days. It made me sleep poorly and not feel well as my body was trying to deal with the massive quantities.

Another thing: it's interesting to see how in tune I am with my body, as is every thru-hiker. I can tell when a food item is hitting the system and notice every little change -- internal and external. I think sometimes it makes me sound like a hypochondriac because there always seems to be something wrong/amiss/in pain. The truth is there is. Not a day goes by for a hiker that something doesn't hurt -- a foot, toe, heel, shin, thigh, shoulder, back, or crotch. Usually, you just deal with it and hope it doesn't get worse.

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